The best parts of Fire On Fire's The Orchard are like
listening to The Band at its peak. Just as Levon Helm
conjured up ghosts from Civil War era America and somehow turned his
aural haunting into hit records, this music sounds like somebody has
transported modern day recording equipment back in time. There are
places where the banjos trickle along like Victoria Williams'
musical ramblings, with no particular place to go. Although Fire On
Fire often gets labeled as country, chances are good that most contemporary
country music fans won't recognize it. This isn't country music; it
is music inspired by the country, instead. Tracks like "Assanine
Race" are spooky, and walking into Fire On Fire's The Orchard
feels like stumbling into a Southern polygamy cult where everybody
else knows the score but you. You sit down, try not to stare, and
do your best not to draw attention to yourself. This disc's title
track features accordion against a banjo groove, and is one part Handsome
Family, two parts Tom Waits gypsy street music. So how
did a contemporary band come up with such an old time recording? Either
they truly love these kinds of sounds, or they've read far too much
classic American literature. Whatever the case, this is good stuff
- in The Addams Family sort of way.
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