April 1, 2013

YouTube Rodeo: Fire Island Pines' Transformative "1915"

It takes a half-minute for the song to kick in, and its shifting gray presentation belies the song's sunny disposition, but the video embedded above otherwise makes quick work of reminding us of all the things we love about Fire Island Pines' finely appointed, gentlemanly pop. We were both surprised and pleased to read the Cornwall, England-based sextet has a domestic label deal in place for its new single: "1915" and "Midwest" b/w "Cherry Grove" will be released on an orange vinyl 7" by Minnesota-based Manic Pop! Records April 29. The band trades in gentle, layered and jangly indie pop colored by fronter Anton Rothschild's murmuring-in-his-sleep vocals and some breezy and persistent trumpet leads. Fire Island Pines have posted all three tracks from the single on its Soundcloud page, so we are able to offer you streams of "Midwest" and "Cherry Grove" below in addition to the video of the lead track supra.

The three tunes are remarkable for evidencing what seems like a new-found facility for writing more extended, expositive passages into these noticeably darker (but not quite dark) songs. It is also worth noting that each one of those tracks presents new dimensions of the act's sound: with "Midwest" the mood is unexpectedly tense and harried ("this is not a gas station in the midwest, but I bet you wish it was, because you are an ugly man in an ugly tan and you're doing ugly things..."), and there is woven into the mix some very cleanly distorted guitar that interrupts Fire Island Pines' characteristic jangle. "Cherry Grove" touts a long coda that spirals across a sturdy foundation of percussion and quarter-note guitar strumming, like an early '80s Rod Stewart single taking a pleasantly psychedelic turn. Pre-orders for "1915" and "Midwest" b/w "Cherry Grove" are already being taken right here. We last wrote about Fire Island Pines in Feb. 2012, on the occasion of the release of the sextet's wonderful Rickie Lee Jones EP; we first wrote about Fire Island Pines here in April 2011. Manic Pop! appears to have launched only last August, but has already logged 19 releases to its name, a very impressive feat.

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