Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Fire Exit "Timewall" on Last Laugh Records

It's rare that a band who put out one single in 1978 would have just played a show in Edinburgh a couple of weeks ago. That's the dream to have put out a great punk single right at the height of this new movement that was actually changing the world in a lot of ways. To have your parents think, "Oh, it's a phase" only to still be ending shows with your first record forty years later. You might want the fortune to go along with this fame but it's better to go down as one of the firsts then to be a rich ridiculous footnote in music history. Fire Exit out of Scotland seems to feel that way and Last Laugh agrees by reissuing their debut single.

A-Side's "Timewall" opens with a surprising jangle that solos into an almost post punk Wire sound. It's frantic rushing immediately to that chorus continuing to cram solo's into every crevice. That big strum jangle is the sign they're having real fun with this thing. Going through the 'time wall' and asking "Are you going with me or would you rather stay here?" It's nice that they're asking. I guess it's that brick wall on the sleeve, it looks like there's a pretty cool city through the hole so let's do it! One of those random catchy things that they came up with. These guys had serious technical ability and I'm trying not to even condsider this as punk as much that earlier Wire or Buzzcocks skillful frantic pop. The time they spend on that solo is worth it, these classic guitar tones are impossible to get back or people just aren't interested anymore, it's a shame. This can be cranked loud and easily transcends the time it was recorded in.

B-Side's "Talkin' About Myself" opens on a tricky baseline while a jagged crunchy guitar jabs in. This one has even more of that angular angry sound with the guitar sawing away with a crazy vocal delay effect at the end of verses. It's that skill in basic guitar sound, with just a slight distortion over the electric jangle that seems to crackle, you can do more with less as usual. Gerry has that same kind of hard hitting delivery of halfway singing but really just interested in getting the point across, no one is winning any talent shows. Andy's drums are a metronome with insane fills, changing the main melody, throwing a new key in there as part of this manic head trip. When they take an idea of how this character is feeling literally its a great excuse to get this weird post punk psych sound. Phaser chorus in a solo with creepy yelps, the clean, loud guitar over that crazy stomp. It speeds up impossibly fast because there's got to be a crash after the rise, laughing at the end because this is too much.

Handstamped inner labels and replica black and white sleeve from Last Laugh Records.

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