Firekites – ‘Same Suburb, Different Park’

Listen to

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.


5 Responses

  1. Bob Bag of Doughnuts

    June 10, 2008 11:54 pm

    What’s it about the Outback that is producing fascinating, quirky bands like Lady Strangelove and this one? Is it because you Aussies are spliting the cultural differences/influences between the US and the UK?

    And all the wide open barren space, both psychologically and geographically, has to be filled somehow – sonically adorned. Filled in response to Horror Vacui. The rich mixes of genre and style that these two bands cover so much ground. I’m liking it.

  2. Bren

    November 3, 2008 3:09 pm

    I saw the film clip for Same Suburb Different Park on triple j tv and went out and bought the album the next day.. These guys are fantastic.. Can’t recommend it highly enough.

  3. Bruce Millar

    December 20, 2008 10:50 pm

    Jason, if you read this I will be at mums for xmas, hope to see you there. P.S. the girls at work love the album and they play it at rest time for the kids to get them to sleep.



(*) Required, Your email will not be published