There’s noth­ing Gourmet Gigs likes more than a com­bi­na­tion of music accom­pa­nied by inter­est­ing culi­nary or alco­holic refreshment.

Last Tues­day offered such an occa­sion, with the added mys­tery of a loca­tion in the heart of an indus­tri­al estate in Waltham­stow. Just to rewind: The End fes­ti­val in Crouch End two weeks pre­vi­ous­ly had fea­tured a band called Firesta­tions, who caught the atten­tion of a few us. So we were par­tic­u­lar­ly excit­ed to dis­cov­er their debut album launch show was only a tan­ta­lis­ing week away, at Wild Card Brew­ery, locat­ed at the afore­men­tioned estate.

The venue, once we found it, is a wel­com­ing and cosy space among the brew­ing appa­ra­tus, with a tiny bar serv­ing Wild Card Brew­ery’s var­i­ous craft ales. It was heart­en­ing to see the place packed out, espe­cial­ly at such an impor­tant moment for a new band. As for the beers, they were all per­fect for win­ter, very full of flavour and warm­ing. After a pint of the palest, King of Hearts, I moved onto the dark­est which has a deli­cious mel­low and smoky flavour. Anoth­er vis­it is need­ed to do jus­tice to the range.

IMG_2502Firesta­tions describe them­selves as ‘dream pop’ and the label is some­what accu­rate but there’s more to them than that. The five-piece open the launch of album Nev­er Clos­er with the first track French Caves which encap­su­lates their sound, it’s some­what euphor­ic and dreamy, but under­pinned by a dri­ving beat which pow­ers the song along. The lay­ers rise and fall, some­times the vocals com­ing to the fore, oth­er times the gui­tar. The band drift from an elec­tron­ic feel to that of a more tra­di­tion­al gui­tar band, as on Cold Sweaty Palms, some­times seam­less­ly blend­ing the two. Lau­ra Copsey’s flugel­horn adds an inter­est­ing depth to the over­all sound. The band intro­duce folky touch­es here and there too.

The vocals of Michael Cran­ny are some­what sub­dued, blend­ing with the instru­men­ta­tion, and allow­ing it to be more promi­nent. The title track, Nev­er Clos­er, has a Belle & Sebas­t­ian feel with the wist­ful har­monies of Lau­ra and Michael lead­ing the song.

Firesta­tions seemed delight­ed with the turnout, and the brew­ery played host to a very friend­ly and sup­port­ive crowd.

Lis­ten­ing to the album is prov­ing to be a reward­ing expe­ri­ence. Molten Noth­ing Now devel­ops sat­is­fy­ing­ly, it’s a dreamy, hyp­not­ic num­ber slid­ing into a glo­ri­ous mul­ti-lay­ered vocal finale; the end track, Alma, is a beau­ty: decep­tive­ly gen­tle at first but grad­u­al­ly pulling you in, as it moves into full hyp­not­ic mode a with a kind of mash up of what reminds me of late 60s Bea­t­les-influ­enced loops. Is that maybe I am the Wal­rus among there somewhere?

Album Nev­er Clos­er is avail­able now.


WHO: Firesta­tions plus support
WHEN: Decem­ber 4, 2014
WHERE: Wild Card Brew­ery, Ravenswood Indus­tri­al estate,  Waltham­stow E17

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