“So, why ‘beat combo’?”
“Chris thought it was a funny way to describe ourselves. Maybe the joke got lost somewhere…”
Of all the adjectives I could throw to Firesuite (and I’ve thrown quite a few praising them…), I never quite understood the “beat combo” thing, but I assumed it was an oblique joke, a Family Guy-grade cutaway joke that might or might not be self-deprecating. But that’s where the jokes stop. Firesuite was one of the first bands that actually got in touch with the website instead of the other way around. SUCCESS! One word. ‘Amity’.
I’m partial to shoegaze. As far as I can remember, I’ve always liked the genre. A predecessor of sorts to dream pop, shoegaze always had that “sting” hidden between the fuzzy, thick atmospheres. And ‘Amity’ by Firesuite had this in spades. A whispered vocal delivery, distant guitar and bass parts that distorted themselves via Doppler effect and a drummer that ran away from the jazz loony bin to grant us with some of the most solid drum moves I’ve had the pleasure to hear.
‘Amity’ was part of their first album, You’re an ocean deep, my brother, an album that managed to go straight for the heart in tracks like ‘Beneath The Roses’, or simply embrace the goofiness of life, like in the picaresque ‘Sci Fi Lullaby’.
What You’re an ocean deep, my brother also had was impressive musical chops. Hook-laden basslines (‘Blushed & Bruised’), insights into our mortality (‘If only time were distance’), and moments of sheer brutality (‘Sammy Davis Jr. Jr.’) A couple of years later, a lot of Tramlines gigs and the judicious learning of touring meant that a zippy EP needed to keep the band alive in the public’s mind, capturing the state of the band.
Red World, sporting ace work by Cakes and Comics, only needed five tracks to display the musical prowess of Firesuite. ‘Rabbit’ exuded desperation, ‘Undo’ clawed at walls that would never yield and ‘Red World’, well, it had that certain something in its quiet part, akin to the relative sense of calm after a shouting fit. Catharsis? Maybe. The snare drum still resonates in the distance as I type this, still wondering why is it so haunting. Space Rock. Shoegaze. Post hardcore. Throw all the tags you want, this track sounds like Heaven and I’ll swear by it.
Firesuite are still active-ish, with the odd gig here and there, sometimes in Leeds, sometimes in London, and maybe sometimes in Manchester. Their new album, Outlive your body is quite good (yes, I’ve heard it on the QT) and while we gently wait for it to come out, maybe another listen to their back catalogue is in order.
Words: Sam J. Valdés López