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The Fire Theft

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The Fire Theft The Fire Theft album cover
4.15 | 14 ratings | 3 reviews | 29% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2003

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Uncle Mountain (4:03)
2. Waste Time Segue (1:02)
3. Oceans Apart (4:15)
4. Chain (3:43)
5. Backwards Blues (2:46)
6. Summertime (4:01)
7. Houses (3:14)
8. Waste Time (4:15)
9. Heaven (4:12)
10. Rubber Bands (4:01)
11. It's Over (4:01)
12. Carry You (4:22)
13. Sinatra (14:49)

Total Time 58:44

Line-up / Musicians

- Jeremy Enigk / vocals, guitars
- Nate Mendel / bass
- William Goldsmith / drums

Releases information

CD Rykodisc RCD 10642

Thanks to Peter Pan for the addition
and to Joolz for the last updates
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Buy THE FIRE THEFT The Fire Theft Music

THE FIRE THEFT The Fire Theft ratings distribution

(14 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(29%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(50%)
Good, but non-essential (14%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

THE FIRE THEFT The Fire Theft reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Three musicians from the band Sunny Day Real Estate became known as The Fire Theft after the break up of the first band. For the most part, they rid themselves of the emo sound they had and created a new band in the style of indie/alternative bands. The music is not standard though, it doesn't really follow the traditional patterns of popular rock. The vocals are well done and don't feel self-pitying. The instrumental back ups and breaks are very well and tastefully done, with the band occasionally exploring new and interesting sounds.

Now, this is not a full fledged progressive band, nor do they claim to be. But they take on some progressive, or at least some original sounds, phrasing and very cool harmonics. There are some nice surprises throughout their only full album that give each and every song on here a personality of it's own. I am always afraid of indie or alternative bands that have a few good songs and then pattern all of their other songs after the same mold and the songs end up becoming non-interesting because nothing stands out. Not so with this album. It's hard to find anything that is not interesting here. The music flows forward and doesn't become stagnant. The addition of hooks that come at you from way out in left field at times keep the music fresh and interesting. The interesting harmonics that show up on occasion also make things original.

There are times when I hear a tendency to lean toward a slight post-rock sound, but not quite. In fact, there are passages, especially in the atmospheric chorus to the louder verses of "Chains" that reminds me of the more atmospheric songs of Oceansize, but without quite reaching the full development of that band. But the attempt is legitimate and impressive enough to not have to worry about the songs being weak copies of a better band. Then the longer track "Sinatra" is a decent attempt at something a little more challenging and really approaches progressive music with nice original song structure and dynamics. This is very enjoyable music.

Most of the songs feature great vocals, but there are a few instrumentals here including the short, but interesting "Waste Time Segue", the backward sounding guitar on the otherwise forward sounding song "Backward Blues", and the changing rhythms and moods of the mostly instrumental song "Rubber Bands" are not filler, but have purpose and life of their own. They feel like they belong on the album with the rest of the songs.

I am surprised that the band didn't manage to put out anymore material. I know there was another album planned and also a video album, but neither of these happened for whatever reason. I can't help but think they may have tried a little more experimentation, but I suppose we'll never know.

Anyway, if you are feeling like something a little more mainstream, but not traditional with hints of prog and a lot of originality, this would be the album you are looking for. It's not mindless cookie- cutter material and has just enough individualistic tendency to be considered an excellent addition to your collection. If you can find it, which I still see copies of it around, then by all means, give it a try. I think you will be as surprised as I was.

Review by DangHeck
4 stars Sunny Day Takes on Some Loftier Real Estate

The Fire Theft is one of those interesting Prog-related tales, though not all that surprising. Membership of guitarist-vocalist-frontman Jeremy Enigk, bassist Nate Mendel, and drummer William Goldsmith is likewise rooted in Alt-Emo darlings ('darlings' for good reason) Sunny Day Real Estate. Adding to the interest is the membership of Mendel (long-term and to present) and Goldsmith (fairly briefly, though considered a founding member) to Foo Fighters. As a fan of Alt Rock at large and Emo specifically (which really started blending with Alternative music stylistically around the mid-90s), I highly recommend exploring Sunny Day's catalog; over the course of just 6 years, the impact that their four albums had is immeasurable. It's been quite a while, but learning this latterday band was on PA, I just had to give it another whirl! And to think The Fire Theft, their sole album released in '03, came out just in time for this site!

The album begins with "Uncle Mountain". Here a wash of sparse, echoing rim hits and spacy, reverb-soaked guitar is met with a lush string ensemble, which continues throughout. It crescendos naturally, and well-timed I might add. Enigk's vocal delivery is truly unique still. And his performance on guitar is absolutely inspiring. It's cool to think that this classical-flavoring can be traced back to George Martin with the Beatles and the early work of the Moody Blues. Delicious stuff. Fantastic opener. Jangling guitar coolly backs his shredded vocals as he finally states, 'I want love / If love wants me / I want God / If God wants me.' Up next is the very Post-Progressive "Interlude", a softly stilling piano instrumental. These keys are then replaced with what sounds like a far-off organ on "Oceans Apart", in which Jeremy self-harmonizes beautifully, answered by more strings, string-like effects and what sounded like French horn, perhaps. The single-chorded nature draws our mind to Raga and reveals itself to be pure psychedelic ecstasy! You get your reward in full if you just wait a little bit (just a minute here haha), amirite? Goldsmith's kit really brings it all together; it's hypnotism.

Psych-evocation continues on "Chain". And honestly I can't think of a time where Jeremy Enigk sounded quite like this; sort of a loosely Hard Rock affectation? Many of these tracks, honestly and suitably (given Jeremy's Christian faith), feel like we're being taken right to church. The mood shifts slightly, toward meditative, on "Backward Blues", the only way I like my Blues. Against a basic drone from the rhythm section and Mendel's arpeggiated bass, guitar is outputted backwards, as the title seeks to imply. It's a very provocative sound, despite its overall simplicity. Implying to me [a very sweet] Psych-Pop revivalism with a buzzing drone from synth apparently, "Summertime" is a surefire winner in many resorts [Two sides of the same coin: Any fans of The Left Banke out there? And of Apples in Stereo?]. It's one I definitely remember pretty well; solid melody and Jeremy's voice sounds good as ever. Times like these make it a bit harder to judge for the site. Sweeter still we then have "Houses". And in a whole other church-found way, the old-timey lilt reminds me of some of the hymns I grew up with. Either way, a track of romantic nostalgia; likelihood of Prog-fan appeal is limited.

Back on with a clearcut, straightaway Rock beat, "Waste Time" still brings out flavors from before, though it sounds modern in various ways. The loose drummin' is really putting in the work and simultaneously gives a vibe of the past; difficult for me to specify. To me, not one of the stronger tracks (and yet very tastefully produced, etc., etc.). On Spotify currently, "Heaven", a highly sentimental piano ballad turned Second-Wave Emo... ballad (haha), is by far the most popular track. It does have some melodic knack and interest that I just can't deny. Lovely stuff and once more we get some delicious harmonies. The explosions of guitar and cymbals, in what is broadly the outro, is very impactful. Not quite Prog, but certainly ambitious. Coming to the close is one of my all-time favorites from this album, "Rubber Bands", with a fantastic and memorable main riff. Still summoning Psychedelia, this is pretty representative of the best of what Second-Wave Emo, as it were, has to offer (I would say, yearwise, this was not even in that wave of the genre, to be clear). Really, everything is so good here. You'll never hear Nate Mendel sound like this, for instance. Simply put, this is just compositional satisfaction, after all that came before. I'll recommend here and now a band that certainly should be (and I forgot thankfully is) on ProgArchives, Polvo!!! Their exploration of dissonance, for instance, is fantastical. Similar in tone and likely aim, in my opinion, is the much more Post-Hardcore group Faraquet.

As we approach the end (of the album and this incredibly long review), next is "It's Over". I mean, they really figured out how to put some weight on the backend, hadn't they? Some of the best vocal melodies of the whole, and everyone is bringing their proverbial A game. This track reads to me, broadly, as Power Pop. Reaching into a very specific sound from Sunny Day before, "Carry You" has a forlorn feeling; dark, but not quite a dirge. Second time the thought has come to me throughout this listen, but Jeremy's occasioned raspy falsetto stands reminiscent to my ears of Jon Anderson (Yes) [Wow, combining multiple American idioms really muddies the meaning at some point, doesn't it? haha]. Despite the dark and moody, this track will offer your ears plenty. Awesome sound design, to put it one way, at the very end. Footsteps walk right-to-left and then back again as the string ensemble dies down. At first spin of the final track, "Sinatra" initially took me aback by its near-15-minute length. This doesn't sound much like anything else here to me at the start. We also get our first (clear) feature of acoustic guitar. And the wait is worth it, as it gets goin' right around minute 2. Who am I kidding? This song is huge. A swirl of different voices enters in around the fifth minute as we return to the spacious, sunlit sonics of "Sinatra"'s start. The mantra of the hour is 'I'm just me.' And all God's children said, 'Yeah, sure. Amen.' All then dies down at right about 8:00, as I patiently and ignorantly listen for more while sitting in this plenty busy, plenty loud cafe... We come back with more less than two minutes later. The remainder is effectively an ambient work. Not my favorite way to go out, but it's certainly a closing statement I can not deny significance.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Listening diary 26th March, 2022: The Fire Theft - s/t (alternative rock, 2003) For all of my obscure methods of finding music - detailed and semi-automated; rigorous and thorough, this one threatened to slip through the cracks. I've been using the same methods for listening to new music for a ... (read more)

Report this review (#2713532) | Posted by Gallifrey | Sunday, March 27, 2022 | Review Permanlink

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