When we first mentioned Portland, Maine’s Fire On Fire as a band worth watching almost exactly one year ago, they had a limited-edition hand-screened 5-song EP under their belts. A November later, they’ve returned, again on M. Gira’s Young God, with a full-length collection, The Orchard. These 12 “new” tracks were recorded before the EP — it’s sparer, rawer, the harmonies/sound more back-porch ragged. Another reverse: Instead of shifting from acoustic to electric a la Dylan, some of the quintet used to call themselves Cerberus Shoal when they plugged in, but now they mold all-acoustic sounds via stand-up bass, mandolin, banjo, oud, jembe, harmonium, accordion, guitar, tamboritza, jembe, dobro, etc., and those aforementioned harmonies. Here’s their “Hartford Blues.”
Fire On Fire – “Hartford Blues” (MP3)
Gira describes them as “A backwoods, fierce, psychedelic Mamas And The Papas or a crazed and joyously vengeful gospel string band.” Remember, they all still live together in the same house: “A big blue house across from green oil tank # 28 in South Portland, Maine.” Remember, too, they backed-up labelmate Larkin Grimm on her new one, Parplar.
The Orchard is out 12/10 via Young God.