Friday, January 16, 2009

The Theater Fire

So the other day a friend asked what I had been listening to lately that I could recommend. I rattled off a small handful of albums, including Matter and Light, the third LP from Forth Worth, Texas band The Theater Fire. Of course I had to offer a small blurb, something to sell the band. The best, most succinct, tightly wrapped description I could offer was that they played "countrified, eastern Europized, folk pop - yea, it's kinda quirky." Right.

The album, released last month, is an independently grown affair whose fourteen tracks really pack a lot into their journey from beginning to end. As you can tell from my summation above, the instrumentation here is fairly diverse: weeping pedal steel and violin, strains of accordion, mandolin and xylophone, plucked banjo and guitar, sorrowful brass and the clip-clop of found percussion. Roll that all up together and you get the image of a cowboy traveling across Romania looking for his muse with a supporting chorus popping out from behind cactuses at the appropriate points (do they have cactus in Romania?). Try Beatrice (Ode) below to see what I mean.

As a package, it's diversity is its greatest draw, but potentially also a detractor if you don't go for their inventiveness and playfulness with their sound. For me it happens to work. Try to following tracks to get an inkling if it'll work for you.

Visit their website and become their friend on MySpace.

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