Review: Firefriend ‘Dead Icons’
Outstanding releases that make a lasting impression happen only every once in a while. When they do occur, we often find ourselves becoming enraptured, the music gets put on constant rotation, the band becomes a part of our lives. We buy the vinyl, the merch, the whole shibang of fandom. For the world of psychedelic rock, this rare event of a superb, absorbing new release has occurred and the time is now for it to make its way into our lives.
The album will no doubt be sticking to the subconscious of fans of this genre for a while. Titled Dead Icons, it was written by a band that create fascinating psychedelia with a vastness of perfectly placed parts in wickedly cool songs. That band is Firefriend and are sure to please fans of trippy, genre-bending, reverb-drenched, fuzzed out, aurally tantalizing musical splendor.
Based out of Sao Paulo, Brazil, Firefriend are composed of Yury Hermuche on guitar, Julia Grassetti on bass and C. Ameral drumming. I had the chance to chat online with Yury and an opportunity to get a glimpse into the mind of a genius, both musically as well as ideologically. In addition to being immensely skilled at crafting strikingly artful songs and a virtuoso at guitar, he’s also fiercely aware culturally of the political and social happenings that are occurring in the volatile part of Brazil the band are from.
He’s against the ‘old world’, the corrupt and extremely destructive powers that exist, he wants change, and is sick of having to deal with, in his words ‘their violence – wars, hunger, autocracies, corruption, environmental pollution, police states, economic crisis. We are on the side of the art that always pushes societies to open new spaces where every human being can breathe and thrive’. Firefriend encourages a sense of hope for real progress in the world and this is much needed in our day and age.
The opening track, as well as the album title, Dead Icons is a dreamy, cerebral adventure in soundscapes of guitar, bass and drums swirling and twirling together making for a very ethereal effect with the vocals singing mellowly. Firefriend surely should be mentioned in conversation and compared alongside bands like Dungen and Tame Impala, all three being involved in the groovy new era of psychedelic music. The band also portrays a technical ability comparable to classic Pink Floyd goodness.
Gently moving along, Spin is their next track. It’s a well done, artsy, intriguing, bass driven piece that creates an uplifting mood, venturing out there with a bewildering though pleasant wild effect, all while keeping steady pace in the genre they’re playing (and kind of defining), but then proceeding to territory with a post-rock feel that staunch fans of Sonic Youth could definitely enjoy.
Up next is a personal favorite, the slickly and wittingly named 666 Fifth Avenue, it’s emotionally moving, honing in on the attention-grabbing, pulling listeners in. The message is chilling about the horrible atrocities experienced dealing with the US, and fittingly stating ‘The night is coming to America’. It’s fantastically well done as a siren effect is given musically, like the band are subtly sounding an alarm. Firefriend are definitely skilled at being creative by being able to portray an idea through sound and was captivating for sure.
fascinating psychedelia with a vastness of perfectly placed parts in wickedly cool songs…
During the fourth song, Hexagonal Mess, gentle whispers occasionally utter soft cries that creatively paint a very dark yet pleasing mural of what it sounds like, in song, to endure lasting suffering. Next is Tomorrow, an eerie sounding, perplexing mind-twirler of a track, all while keeping that psychedelic feel. Lyrically it’s describing the glory of the feeling of gratification that comes when seeing dangerous opposition fade with persistent resistance. These guys definitely have an interesting dynamic in being a psychedelic band pushing the political. Listeners have been needing this and it’s perfectly timed, considering the social destruction happening in the world.
Shifting patters of mood to a brighter phase, the next song Three Dimensional Sound Glitch is an experimentation in sound textures, softly gliding in smooth fashion, pleasing to anyone wanting to be totally entranced by highly enticing waves of interesting harmonic tones. All done with instruments, a tiny bit of sampling and know how to make a guitar sound like a horn. A rare feat.
The album now drifts into some groove-laden bass guitar. On Home Or Exile, we definitely get a fulfilling amount of melding rich harmonies with strikingly haunting vocals whilst hearing hip rock’n’roll. Imagine the most out-there that Black Rebel Motorcycle Club get on their most far-out moments and you kind of have the same realms touched upon here. It’s a very gratifying scenario.
This track is definitely a rad number. Imagine how cool it would have been if the first Strokes album had been heavily, I mean seriously influenced by the wildest psychedelic music ever created. That’s close to what is heard here. The lyrics are very trippy, fitting the music well, giving a cool juxtaposition and a sound that doesn’t typically happen with super groovy lyrics. ‘I want to get higher… one thousand miles high… with you’. It’s a piece about getting extremely lit with cherished company. I’d call it exactly the perfect piece to smoke a bowl of indica to with a close friend or an ideal song to highlight a party.
Waves is the finale. A suitable end-piece for this thrilling ride. A slow work, with plentiful lush melodies that are just sumptuous to the ears. The song moves memorably like the slow goodbye that happens after a joyous adventure with new company as you make meaningful friendships along the way.
Dead Icons is an achievement of great proportions. We’re talking unstoppable originality. If you’re searching for new music that will make a serious impression on you, has an ultra hip vibe with musical hooks impossible to ignore and impactful lyrical content, then Firefriend‘s Dead Icons is not one to pass on. Give it a listen, it’s sure to impress.
Label: Cardinal Fuzz Records | Little Cloud Records
Band Links: Official | Facebook | Bandcamp | Twitter | Instagram
Scribed by: Maxwell Seeman