Published By: Wears The Trousers – September 10th 2009
Orchestral folk-pop may not be one of music’s most recognisably innovative forms, but don’t equate that with an inability to stir and provoke. Mirroring the famous Korzybski philosophy from which this EP derives its name – “the map is not the territory” – this six-piece band from Falmouth in Cornwall arrive with this debut release to prove once again that genre abstractions can be sorely misleading. All The Fires are a talented bunch who construct often mysterious tales rich in layered three-part harmonies from singers Rosalie James, Kathryn Williams (not the one from Newcastle) and Matthew Dixon, scattering vibrant natural imagery and literary references among them. The Cornish air has clearly got into their heads and blown away any cobwebs as these five tracks all display an impressive clarity and uncommon grace.
Opening with the lyrical ‘Found You’, which seesaws with a similarly beautiful lightness of touch that made Bic Runga’s Beautiful Collision such a rare treat, the EP goes from strength to strength. Referencing the dwindling Cornish language, ‘Bys Vyken’ (’for ever’) is a typically sumptuous piano ballad, supported by Williams’s unfalteringly pretty cello, while the magical ‘Zugunruhe’ (a biological phenomenon of anxiety and sleep disturbances generally seen in migrating animals) saves the best for last with a wistful tale of staying in a seaside town during the winter. Moving and compelling, ‘The Map’ is a bit like being in a huge maze with beautiful trees and flowers at every turn. You know you have to find the exit eventually but part of you just doesn’t want to get there
All The Fires Links: