Dream-pop band Firestations released their fifth album called Thick Terrain on July 14th on Lost Map, on limited-edition 12” vinyl and digital platforms. The album is a “clear-eyed and bold statement, deftly combining big ideas with pop sensibilities in a captivating way”. And you can catch Firestations live, starting 30th August (venues and dates below).
Thick Terrain is a fully rounded and well balanced album of ten tracks, with some beauties to discover as the band shift effortlessly between pensive and joyful. The new work contains some familiar Firestations motifs, but it also pushes things forward in an exploratory fashion. The album’s opener God & The Ghosts sets the scene: it’s an atmospheric and dreamy number, the wistful harmonies laid over rich instrumentation.
Travel Trouble is one of the strongest tracks on the album: there’s an urgency and release about the Fleetwood-Mac style guitar work, and the track highlights the distinctive and beautiful harmonies of Michael Cranny and Laura Copsey. Michael, the band’s chief songwriter says about the single: “It’s impossible to avoid the ramping up of the ‘hostile environment’ rhetoric from the Tories right now. This juxtaposed with privileged people getting disproportionately annoyed with minor inconveniences in their everyday lives, can be very depressing. Here in England, we need much more compassion, with an understanding that, on a very basic level, it’s a complete accident where you’re born and the circumstances you find yourself in.”
The album also contains the haunting, wistful track, Swim Under the Winter which was reviewed here. The vocals seem to float towards you as if through a crisp winter mist. There’s a meditative quality, a feeling of drawing inwards just before a spring reawakening – a sense of optimism lurks under the surface. Mike and Laura’s razor sharp harmonies hover on a fine edge between soothing and melancholic.
There’s a mysterious quality to final track Stillness, which opens with the calling of a drum beat. The second half reminds me of The Beatles in their psychedelic period, with layers of guitar and sitar-sounding notes intertwined with the vocals.
See Firestations live:
30 Aug – Bedford Esquires w/ Jeffrey Lewis
28 Sept – Paperdress Vintage w / Mammoth Penguins
29 Sept – Cambridge Blue Moon w/ Mammoth Penguins
30 Sept – Manchester Talleyrand
19 Oct – Southsea The Loft
21 Oct – Bristol The Lanes
22 Oct – Stroud Prince Albert (Lost Map Takeover)