Album Review - Firewater - International Orange! (release: September 11, 2012 - Bloodshot Records)
Slinky, sexy numbers are roaring from my headphones right now. Infused with the sounds of shouting crowds erupting from behind the songs, this is the audio equivalent of curry and cinnamon. With crashing cymbals and red hot horn sections, this makes you want to move and run around and skank about and go a little furious.
This is Firewater and their sixth album, entitled Agent Orange!, dropped on September 11th.
The first track, “A Little Revolution”, skirted dangerously near the sounds of old Chumbawumba (“Tubthumping” anyone? God, please erase my mind of the horror that band implemented on my young mind), but then they blazed off into global noise, the jams of other continents and Firewater quickly proved they’re better than that.
“Glitter Days” starts off as some snaky Indian-sitar intro and then bashes into this fusion of rock and charmed cobras, with a poppy, horn-blasted chorus, sizzling, ferocious. Yeah, you’re going to want to clear some space in your living room when you put this on. Especially for “Ex-Millionaire Mambo”. Shit is groovy. Kind of reminds me of this one time I did mushrooms and danced around my apartment to a calypso album.
“Feeling No Pain” carries on in the same vein with steel drums, a hypnotic horn section, and what sounds like maracas, with lyrics talking about being a broke-ass (so Firewater keeps their messages relevant, even if their sound soars all over the planet). The whole vibe of the LP is as transient and far-flung as the ethnic touches running wild throughout.
The Bloodshoot Records website mentions how the band has been doing their signature mash-ups of punk, rock and world music since as early as ’97, when band creator Tod A was reaching a crossroads of sorts in Brooklyn . Yes, that was way before Beirut, Gogol Bordello and Balkan Beat Box decided that global-infused punk and skank was a rad idea and did it too.
Tracks like “Strange Life” roll out with a smoky horn, before the song erupts into some more of that seductive mambo, singing about long flights and going to Istanbul, where the band is based out of now. “Nowhere to be Found” starts off as a soft gypsy melody before breaking into some danceable skank. “Tropical Depression” is tougher; it sounds kind of like Brit-pop (ironically not as tropical as their other tracks on here – and actually my least favourite; not a fan of the ’90s-sounding Brit-pop.
All in all, this album is a hell of a lot of fun to listen to; it warms your bones. For all of you who get the winter blues and are too broke to actually go to Cuba or South America or India or Istanbul, I’d say chuck on International Orange! Better yet – I’m going to bet that this band puts on one HELL of a live show, and they’re touring the East coast of the U.S. before heading west through America. If you’re in around that area, check them out. Do it for me. I don’t have a passport.