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fire!

The Hands

RUNE GRAMMOFON



CD

Released: 26th Jan 2018

£12.99


LP

Released: 26th Jan 2018

£17.99


We’ve fallen harder for each album but this time they really got us! The trailblazing Swedish trio’s scorching hot 6th will satiate jazz heads and psych heads alike.

We pay proper attention to anything that comes out on the Rune Grammofon label and have been following the rise of Fire! / Fire! Orchestra for some years now. So, imagine our delight when it became apparent that Mats Gustafsson (The Thing), Johan Berthling (Tape) and Andreas Werliin (Wildbirds & Peacedrums) were not only continuing to turn jazz on its head but now, they were putting out their finest work to date. This is a record that has reached into the consciousness of most of us Residents and has been a consistent deck seller, enthralling all whose ears fall into its path.

The outfit’s unique blend of free-jazz, sludge rock, noise, psychedelic rock and black metal isn’t necessarily a musical cocktail that you felt was missing from your life but trust us, it’s a fix you need. The brooding, hypnotic, slowcore jazz is melded with heavy, doom laden basslines that cut through each mix like a dark storm.

This trio operate way beyond the disparaging “super group” term that they initially had clouding them. All 3 bring skilful play to the studio but no one tries to outplay the other. Instead they all heavily lean on each other with a dependency and trust that can only come from a truly committed band.

This many albums in, with no vocals and no guests, there was a danger that the band might become a little too repetitive or reliant on a single sound. Previous collaborators have included Jim O’Rourke and Oren Ambarchi and since 2012, the band have also expanded into Fire! Orchestra, a star-studded ensemble of up to thirty players, who issue their own albums (four to date) and remain active. However, Gustafsson deploys various saxophones and electronics, Berthling plays bass guitar or double bass and Werlin employs feedback as well as percussion, so they are able to change up the soundscape as well as the tone and tempo. The dark and intensely burning sessions are counterbalanced with some quiet and reflective notes to ensure your attention never wanes – they will have you gripped throughout.

Imagine if Here Lies Man’s riff-based heavy rock foundations were fused with the squalling sax of Morphine’s “low-rock” holy racket, Sleep’s doom-laden stoner rock and Acoustic Ladyland’s free-jazz, then you’d start to get some idea of where this sits on the sonic spectrum - i.e. in an unclassifiable world and league all of its own!

"Gustafsson sounds like he’s mutilating a hymn on the tenor sax. Best of all is the fidgety, one-chord funk of ‘washing your heart in filth’, where Andreas Werliin sounds like three drummers playing at once” 8/10 - Uncut

The Hands

Tracklist

  1. The Hands
  2. When Her Lips Collapsed
  3. Touches Me With The Tips Of Wonder
  4. Washing Your Heart In Filth
  5. Up. And Down.
  6. To Shave The Leaves. In Red. In Black.
  7. I Guard Her To Rest. Declaring Silence.