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Firefriend - Fantasma
By Ian Smith
Everything has gelled. Sao Paulo’s primary purveyors of psych perfection have dropped a new album upon us without warning and it’s the trio’s best yet. All the signs were there at the Eindhoven Psychfest of 2019, there was a knowingness about the live performance. A band in control of its own destiny. Their time in lockdown has been used more than wisely.
‘Three-dimensional Sound Glitch’ starts this opus, full of disjointed rhythms and guitar runs, languishing beautifully, going nowhere. ‘Hexagonal Mess’ starts with a swarm of tremolo before Julia’s asinine vocal takes over, yearning for something long lost. The song disintegrates into a tangle of ragged guitar. ‘Spin’ is straighter and more upbeat with shades of Sonic Youth rattling around it’s core.
‘Dead Icons’ introduces more of the fuzz and is an instant stand-out for this listener, Yury’s finest vocal performance to date supported by interweaving guitar lines and drone-licks. This track moves seamlessly through its phases and is gonna be a belter live (roll on 2030….). Even finer is ‘Tomorrow’, a plodding, sombre lament of Sigur Ros-esque proportions. It’s glorious.
Which brings me neatly to ‘666 Fifth Avenue’, which starts off rather pop-tastically (insert your favourite mid-‘80’s English act here). There is an urgency which encapsulates the whole record. ‘Ongoing Crash’ is built around a killer bass-hook, embracing Julia’s love of all things Sabbath. A pounding, crashing rush of attitude. ‘Waves’ again hints at the band’s new-found pop sensibility, oddly recalling The Beatles.
The penultimate track, ‘Home Or Exile’ is positively brimful of attitude; their music has never sounded so together. A Stones-esque romp of epic proportions. Closer ‘One Thousand Miles High’ utilises discordant, almost playful guitar, Yury sounding joyous and upbeat to end quite the journey.
It’s rare for a band to make something so fresh this far in. You will have to be content with purchasing the download today whilst we wait for the vinyl to drop around April 2021 via Little Cloud Records (US) and Cardinal Fuzz (UK).
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