Scene and Heard – CCCL : Self Doubt – Wasabi Fire Alarm (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

36423597_399640870555123_4075093914229407744_o 2.jpgIf you whittle the job of a reviewer down to someone who puts music into neat little boxes, surrounded by other like minded and sonically compatible bands, then Wasabi Fire Alarm are one of those bands that confound the job. Or at least make us journo’s have to put a bit more thought and effort into things.

There are parts of Self Doubt, the creeping bass line, the middle-eight rant/vocal bits and the spacious nature of the arrangements that immediately put me in mind of bands such as The Breeders and Belly, that arty, alty, college rock indie vibe that was more of an American thing that a UK one but powerful enough to cross the water and sow seeds here too. There is also a hint of Patti Smith’s poetic and off kilter deliveries to be found amongst the more conventional vocal styles, which is interesting to me as I consider her to be the real instigator of punk, forget all that nonsense about The Ramones and New York Dolls. And real deal punk ideas are often found in the most unpunk places, especially once you get past the idea of punk being anything more than an attitude.

But musical this isn’t punk of course. It is indie, it is alt-rock, it is warped pop,  it is many things but more than anything it is non-conformist, it wanders its own path, it leads rather than follows, it pushes into uncharted territory rather than looks for footprints. It is full of groove, a blend of industrial bass lines and skanky garage rock guitars but played for effect rather than mere weight.

The fact that they also look like members of four different bands is also a box ticked in my book. Who wants to follow fashion when you can be your own weird, self fulfilling prophecy or even a scene unto yourself?  Self-doubt isn’t something that would come within a mile of this band.



Two Fingers in a V – Wasabi Fire Alarm (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

9cdfb5_3fb93f42fa0040948169671584a356d4~mv2.jpg_srz_1280_720_85_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srzI love this band before I have even finished reading their name. Anyone coming up with a name that cool, that outside the box of convention has surely got to be worth checking out? Well, I can report back that yes, they are, well worth checking out. If Resistance, the band that provided some of the members in the band including singer Sue Egypt, made music which wandered between dream-pop etherealness and jazz lounge sophistication, Wasabi Fire Alarm is the result of lighting an alt-rock fire underneath it. Many of the core qualities are still there, the otherworldly vocals and the use of space in particular, but this time around things seem slightly more driven and a touch more weighty.

The great thing about the song is although you can easily identify the various musical building blocks which go into the mix, funky guitar licks, jazz diva vocals, driving drums, lyrical depth and a whole wealth of musical understatement, it is almost impossible to think of a band that they sound like. And that’s the trick isn’t it? To play around with familiarity but have an end result which doesn’t feel like it is straight off the shelf, that instead is more like a bespoke thing and tailored to an individual ear.

It is easy to hear jazz, funk and blues hints in both the vocal delivery and the sultry groove that the song runs on. But equally it plays with a post-modern take on the same, a contemporary splicing of the past and the present, the classic and the cutting edge, old-school elegance and modern sass. Genres are almost a thing of the past, pop is where you find it, it’s all pop at the end of the day, and even if this isn’t pop music, in the strictest sense, it is damn sure to give pop music a run for its money.

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