Fire on Fire | The Orchard

Alex V. Cook |

Fire on Fire are psychedelic formalists of the highest water.  

Their approach
is that of the crack, cracked string bands of yore like Incredible String
Band and Holy Modal Rounders and the lush chamber dwellers like Love. The
group lives and makes stirring acoustic music communally, howling in unison
like Sacred Harp Singers terrified to find themselves in Purgatory.
“Sirocco” sets the tenor of this splendid record, accordions offering
counterpart to a precision cycle of banjos and hand percussion. The chorus
offers if we tear this kingdom down, let be with a deserving and joyous
sound. Amen, and the kingdom is all around you.

Fire on Fire are dead serious in mission, but do it with a rapturous and
confident manner that you want to sign up with their cult recruiter. “Heavy
D” is a perfectly wrought chantey not about the rapper – at least I don’t
think so – but a meditation on heaviness itself. “Assanine Race” is
serpentine in meaning like much of their material, and that of great
psychedelic music, and it points to what is so potent about this music. They
utilize and exploit the most accessible of folk plainsong melody, using them
as a raised bed out of which grows frightening vines that eventually choke
everything else out. You enter their garden to smell the roses but find
yourself quickly tangled in thorns. 

If I were to have any complaints about this record, it would be that it is
too much. I fell head over heels for their self-titled EP because in its
five tracks formed the four walls and roof of a house in which you could
spend some time. The Orchard is like a real orchard: endless with row after
precision row of ripe luscious fruit for the tasting. After a while I find
myself no longer listening specifically but contextually and ultimately when
the hypnotic “Haystack” comes around the bend, I have had too much fruit,
lost in their plantings, delirious to the point of collapse. I think this
is what all psychedelic music really goes for, that kind of completion where
attention becomes irrelevant because one is in union with the waves crashing
around you.