"The single lives up to its namesake with a heaving bassline that pounds us all in the chest with a pulsating rhythm to get off on."
If any other Tassie band told you that their latest single had been inspired by German cinema, a preoccupation with evil and the rise of totalitarianism, you'd be forgiven for wondering if punters would actually want to turn up for the gig.
After all, what's even remotely rock'n'roll about holding your single launch at 2pm on a sunny Saturday arvo in a warehouse that's been slated for demolition with, shock horror, NO ALCOHOL FOR SALE?! It doesn't exactly scream 'accessible' and that has always felt like a much weightier marketing risk in Tassie than anywhere else in the country. But we are talking about All Fires The Fire. They know exactly what they're doing. They've armed themselves with a concept and they have a very particular idea of how they intend to use it.
Watching this band evolve over the past five years - always framed in the noir, Lynch-esque backdrop of night and beautifully spotlighted by blue neon lights and brain-freezing strobes, it's weird to realise just how much the night has accentuated certain aspects of their music. Because today, as frontman Adam Ouston's technicolour shoes tap in the first track City, it's as if they're heralding in the idea of playing to the full blazing sun for the first time. The space and the daytime add a sparkle and lightness to these lads' sound that usually reminds of darker, more womb-like realities. For a four- sometimes five-piece (their roster morphs significantly and sometimes wields a computer or synth instead of a drummer) the wall of sound this band delivers is huge and has a more refined understanding of itself than most of the stuff that's regularly pumped out over the airwaves across this country.
Behind the garlands of rainbow lightbulbs that mark out the stage, Forever sees Eno-esque synths and nods to Twin Peaks give way to dirty, angry fistfuls of feedback while Sunset Strip steals the show a little with its beautiful licks of Western guitar. We feel for a moment as if a shootout is going to happen and then, in a flash, it's gone. The sound is surprisingly good for an open warehouse as spiders of delay and feedback cascade past our ears, and we're reminded that these guys have an incredible knack for creating collages of texture with perfectly selected pedals. As soon as they gain more national attention, comparisons between Ian Curtis and Ouston's quivering baritone are inevitable, but when that happens it will be a shame because the backdrop of the band's soaring instrumentation shows that Ouston's vocal style is much more its own unique creature than could be described by such obvious comparisons.
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There's a moment during Spitting when they strip the guitar back so suddenly that All Fires The Fire leave you wondering if they fucked it for a moment - an impressive exercise in leaving space in a song. Deliciously shredded guitar features heavily before, finally, the featured single Wild from forthcoming album Songs From The Silent Age is born forth. The single lives up to its namesake with a heaving bassline that pounds us all in the chest with a pulsating rhythm to get off on, even while Ouston spits apocalyptic end-of-days lyrics over the top.
This band is a real triple threat. Over the years they've carefully crafted a refined visual aesthetic, their approach to lyricism is informed by Outson's second life as a writer and their songwriting shows depth of texture and complexity. Soon to be a demolished warehouse space, The Commons embodies the inevitable-yet-somehow pragmatic brand of melancholy that All Fires The Fire have always owned and showcases all three of their strengths. The two seem to share a symbiotic bittersweet sadness during this single launch, with the building given its last creative hurrah. An almost-empty vessel lovingly adorned with bold and eccentric sparks for the final time.