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Firewater reviewed

| May 28, 2008 | 0 Comments

Firewater
The Golden Hour
(Bloodshot)

Firewater’s Tod Ashley disappeared in the Far East to work on The Golden Hour, venturing from India to Istanbul until nature — specifically the natives — intervened.

Appearing: Friday, May 30th at Empty Bottle in Chicago.

According to Bloodshot’s press release, Tod A (his stage name) was drugged, robbed, detained, and severely ill before ending his trek at the Khyber Pass — the centuries-old, bandit-teeming causeway between Pakistan and Afghanistan. That he wasn’t beheaded near Islamist-hotbed Peshawar stands as a minor miracle — and his struggles lace through The Golden Hour‘s eyeholes.

Musically, not so much — but that’s a good thing. Firewater retain their off-kilter/world-folk-with-a-rock-bed recklessness while Tod A rambles like a Jon Langford/Nick Cave acolyte who’s off his lithium. Granted, he adorns the album with native percussion, though wisely avoids trying to touristically recreate de facto bhangra and sufi. The lopsided fusion pays off most on “This Is My Life,” which feels like a moped ride through Karachi’s back alleys, punctuated by the rockisms of Tod’s throaty call and the heavily accented beat. Otherwise, Golden doesn’t stretch far beyond Tom Waits, Calexico, and even The Cramps — surf (not sufi) and Southwestern (not subcontinental) were on his mind all those miles away.

8

— Steve Forstneger

Category: Spins, Weekly

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