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) 

Firesta­tions band­camp ; Firesta­tions Face­book; Lost Map records

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