Firekites – ‘Same Suburb, Different Park’
Since the release of The Bowery, the Firekites‘ stunning leave-me-speachless debut album, I’ve been yammering on about it to anyone in earshot who’ll put up with me for more than 20 seconds.
Put simply, I fell in love with this record from the first moments I heard ‘Last Ships’. Coming out of Newcastle in NSW, Firekites feature a roll-call of musos from other established acts: Tim Mcphee from post-grunge instrumentalists The Instant, Jane Tyrell from hip hop outfit The Herd and Jason Tampake, who moonlights as a member of Josh Pyke’s backing band.
Where the Firekites truly excel is in the guitar work of Tim and Rod Smith – two acoustic guitars playing symbiotic countermelodies, notes woven together in choreographed harmony. The way these two work together is magic, and it’s the beauty of their intertwined lines that lays the foundation for the Firekites’ idiosyncratic music. When Jane’s vocals kick in, it’s like waves of warm melody crashing over the guitars. She plays off the more subdued and introverted male vocals; vocals which murmur and accompany the guitars rather than overshadow them.
I’m at a loss though to label Firekites’ music, or even find a reference point, although acts like Kings of Convenience and the early work of The Sea and Cake mirror similar musical sentiments. Firekites could be referred to as indie folk, but that doesn’t encapsulate the melancholic aesthetic or mood. Tim’s guitar work from The Instant is still recognisable, so it lacks the strummed chords of traditional folk, and you could almost claim to hear some echoes of jazz in there. Plus, throw in Jason’s violin, intermittent distorted guitar frenzy and electronic beats – and handclaps – and you get a sound that truly defies genre casting.