The Fire Theftby The Fire Theft
Back in the day, when Jeremy Enigk, William Goldsmith, and Nate Mendel were still recording as Sunny Day Real Estate, it was their flair for coloring the ethos of punk and hardcore with progressive rock's pacing and stylistic breadth, which helped define their deliberate, emotionally invested music. SDRE quickly reached "can do no wrong" status in the hearts and minds of millions. However, inner turmoil of both the personal and band-oriented variety reared up, and it was too soon before Sunny Day Real Estate had bought the farm. It's been a rocky road of reunions, religion, and redoubtable side projects since, but the trio has been led back to one another, and a reformation as the Fire Theft. The band's eponymous Rykodisc debut doesn't skimp on the scope -- violin, viola, French horn, and a children's choir vie peacefully with piano, guitar, and Enigk's typically enormous vocals. But it is not a project concerned with upholding or continuing any sort of legacy. Enigk and co-songwriter Goldsmith (whose inventive percussion unifies the album) freely cross Yes with Modest Mouse ("Oceans Apart"), approach Presence-era Led Zeppelin with their instrumentals, and embrace a classic, unironic sense of melody with "Chain" and "Heaven." At the same time, those tracks are made fabulously, achingly poignant by lyrics that lance through any preconceived notions of emo or anything else, and pierce directly into Enigk's psyche. There's no crybaby posing here, no deployment of cliché. Even if SDRE had a hand in the popularization of the emo movement, the Fire Theft's music is much too personal to be anything other than a therapy session, both for Enigk and his musical co-conspirators and friends. "Heaven/Are you really waiting outside the door?"; "I'm going nowhere waiting for the future to begin"; "Lift back the veil that hides you from me" -- while The Fire Theft is steeped in ambiguity, its creators' strange journey must play into its numerous parts and emotions. What's wonderful about all of this soul searching though is its foundation in melody. The album has its drifting moments, to be sure. But a crashing chorus or epic melodic shift is never far around the bend. Its penultimate moment is the eight-minute finale, "Sinatra." Over cascading, perfectly mixed drums, dreamy guitars, touches of piano, and a chorus of questioning voices, Enigk dwells on adulthood and direction in unflinching first person. "Now that I've buried my life away/Can I dig it out again?" The Fire Theft doesn't make clear whether he can, and its search for the truth down arty indie paths might lead some listeners to look elsewhere. But Enigk, Goldsmith, and Mendel are still sussing out the passion, and stealing emotion back from labelers.
- Release Date:
Performance CreditsFire Theft Primary Artist
Rodger Burnett French Horn
Craig Flory Clarinet
Mark Nichols Conductor
Ken Wright Violin
Jeremy Enigk Glockenspiel,Group Member
William Goldsmith Group Member
Nate Mendel Group Member
Gregg Rice Violin
Jim Dejoie Clarinet,Flute,Bass Clarinet,Piccolo
Dan Marcus Tuba,Bass Trombone
Laurence Hill Children's Chorus
Sam Williams Viola
Phil Wright Violin (Bass)
Julia Thomas Children's Chorus
Kelsey Mackin Voices,Children's Chorus
Ella Banyas Children's Chorus
David Becker Cello
Technical CreditsMark Nichols Orchestration,String Arrangements,Orchestral Arrangements
Eddy Schreyer Engineer
Jim Scott Artwork
Brad Wood Producer,Engineer
Jeremy Enigk Engineer,Orchestral Arrangements
William Goldsmith Engineer
Greg Williamson Engineer
Adam Larson Artwork
Fire Theft Composer,Producer
Adam Wade Engineer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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This album is definitely more complete than any SDRE album. It has the energy of Diary and the musicality of The Rising Tide with a more sophisticated approach to the lyrics. It seems like there is a clear direction from the first song to the final song. SOOOOOO good!
How does one album bring out so much in one person. I have been anticipating this album for almost a year now. These are cultured musicians that have brought inspiration out of every song. Absolutely amazing. Buy or listen to the ablum because its the best one I own.
For those of you outside of the indie circuit, the debut release from The Fire Theft marks the return of what was once called Sunny Day Real Estate. Now if you've lived under a rock since 1993, SDRE was perhaps the sonic flagship for emotional rock and roll controlled chaos that most people (including scores of idiot music journalists and industry insiders) declared the, dare we say, emo sound. Original SDRE drummer Will Goldsmith (who played briefly with the Foo Fighters before Dave Grohl re-recorded his drum tracks on The Colour and the Shape) and current Foo bassist Nate Mendel, along with Enigk, who has never sounded better. No, the band has not turned back the clock with sludgy chords and horrific shards of torment, rather a clean, open-air sound that gets better upon each listen. Jeremy Enigk seems settled and more focused than ever, and his patented discombobulated lyrics have been replaced with a simpler, lovelorn maturity that we've seen from other mid-90's indie icons (Mineral--Gloria Record, Archers of Loaf--Crooked Fingers, etc.). "Well you can grab hold of love if you want it" Enigk plaintively declares on It's Over. And it's the Ghost of Buckley past on the gorgeous Oceans Apart as Enigk's satiated falsetto floats along to Goldsmith's trademark balls-out hammering. "We just couldn't get it right" Enigk mutters in Waste Time, a catchy love song that comes dangerously close to a Journey prom song, and hell yes that's a good thing, and Houses is a sparse lullaby that'll have Chris Carraba waiting backstage for an autograph. But don't get it twisted, The Fire Theft will still kick your a** sonically like Enigk and Co. did a decade ago, and chances are their debut will be better than anything you've bought in the past three years.
Sunny Day might have been one of the most remarkable of "indie" bands, but instead of creating SDRE II, the lads have moved beyond the sonic realm of that genre.This is much grander affair than anything indie I have ever heard. TFT owes more to progressive rock (as show cased on SDREs final album "The Rising Tide"), yet opts for more conventionally assembled songs. The album also illistrates what an impressive and unique style of guitar playing that Enigk has, which was often overshadowed by SDRE lead guitarist Dan Hoerners own trademark soundscapes. To sum up: the individual parts are wholly recognizeable (Enigks voice,Goldsmiths drum patterns, and Mendells meandering bass) but the some total adds up to something quite different from their former band, and the results are wonderfully satisfying!