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Fire Theft – Fire Theft

Posted by December 6th, 2003 No Comments »

Fire Theft
Fire Theft
By Paul Hermann

The first Fire Theft album could have been called “Jeremy Egnik strikes back “or “Mr Enigk and friends discover the magic of synth. ” For all some people could have cared.

Three years have passed since Sunny Day Real Estate (SDRE) released an album and people seemed to forget that a man named Jeremy Egnik still lived under the gracious clouds of the Northwest. Did anyone even notice that he and his old buddies from SDRE, Nate Mendell and William Goldsmith formed a band called The Fire Theft? I kept a watchful eye on the group at first but lost interest over time. Listening to this album confirmed my suspicions.

Fire Theft
Fire Theft
By Paul Hermann

The first Fire Theft album could have been called “Jeremy Egnik strikes back “or “Mr Enigk and friends discover the magic of synth. ” For all some people could have cared.

Three years have passed since Sunny Day Real Estate (SDRE) released an album and people seemed to forget that a man named Jeremy Egnik still lived under the gracious clouds of the Northwest.

Did anyone even notice that he and his old buddies from SDRE, Nate Mendell and William Goldsmith formed a band called The Fire Theft? I kept a watchful eye on the group at first but lost interest over time. Listening to this album confirmed my suspicions.

One would think that a group consisting of such a strong cast would mean a strong album but with this debut from The Fire Theft it only brings more questions then answers. Gone are the intensity of Jeremy Egnik’s vocals and passionate screams. Instead we get a “cleaner” sound that exchanged the loud guitars for ambient sounds and piano, which don’t work nearly as well.

You may like this more than I did, but it didn’t work for me. The songs wallow in ambient noodling, causing Enigk’s vocals to seem forced onto the music rather then fitting right in with a melody. Songs like “oceans apart” push the keyboard/synthesizer sound to the forefront, giving the vocals no room to do the song justice.

What brings real tears to this old fan’s eyes are both the forced lyrics and the “cuteness” that some songs like “summertime” and “houses” wear thin. Sometimes we are forced to listen to orchestras or bells trying desperately to invade music it doesn’t belong in, along with some of the weakest lyrics of Jeremy’s career. Even his solo album from 94 didn’t have misguided use of orchestras and certainly contained much better lyrics. (Yes, songs about sailing ships are cool, so shut up.)

Through all the annoying new sounds of the 80’S (Oh, I mean keyboards I’m sorry), cuteness and lame lyrics The Fire Theft did manage to score three songs that really make it hard for me to completely write them off. Fortunately the songs are mostly in a row. Oddly, these are the most “rockin” on the album.

“Waste time” sounds like Bon Jovi made a guest appearance and brought his voice box with him, but loud distorted guitar covers those background noises right up. The closest song to SDRE is the great song “Its over” that allows William Goldsmith to show off his amazing drum talents along with a somewhat screaming Jeremy Enigk. (By the time I heard this song I almost forgot who he was.) The most un-SDRE song that I like is by far “heaven” that starts off like a piano ballad but ends up kicking off with the rock that I wasn’t expecting.

I still don’t like where this band is heading. At all. If all the future holds is comparisons to Styx and instrumental tracks that belong in a Cameron Crowe film, then we have lost one of the most talented artists in Seattle history. I hope after listening to this album The Fire Theft will realize they shouldn’t fix something when it isn’t broken. – (5.5)


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