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Review: 'FIRE!'

-  Label: 'Rune Grammofon'
-  Genre: 'Ambient' -  Release Date: '12th February 2021'-  Catalogue No: 'RCD2217 / RLP3217'

Our Rating:
Fire!'s debut album ('You Liked Me Five Minutes Ago'), was released in 2009. Wrting about this, the New York Times praised the band's “basic strategy of pairing the expressive energy of free jazz with a sturdy sense of groove”.

Since then there have been five albums prominently featuring the groove of Mats Gustafsson's explosive baritone sax playing. For 'Defeat', the Swedish leader shows his versatility by switching in part to the flute without compromising the band's improvised instrumental identity.

The title of the nine minute opening track, A Random Belt. Rats You Out, wouldn't look out of place on a Captain Beefheart album and the piece has the same loose yet frenetic energy of the good captain's Shiny beast period. There are no jaunty Jethro Tull-esque musings here.

Johan Berthling 's bass rhythms underscore the tracks while guests Goran Kajfes (Quartertone trumpet) and Mats Aleklint (trombone, sousaphone, horn arrangements) skronk up the sonic template significantly, particularly on Each Millimeter Of The Toad, Part 2.

The woozy quality of Defeat (Only Further Apart) gives the jazz-funk a real edge while the slow drift of Alien (To My Feet) closes the album on a more reflective note.

The overall playing time is just 36 minutes but this multi-talented band cover a lot of ground and give the impression that the sounds represented here are mined from a very rich seam.
  author: Martin Raybould

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FIRE! - Defeat