Almost All In Good Fun – “Fire. Safe. Cigarettes.” (2013)
I expected to be disappointed by Almost All In Good Fun’s album Fire.Safe.Cigarettes. Not because I don’t enjoy their songs when I hear them live, because they’re young goofballs or for any other good reason, but because I’ve heard quite a bit of hype about it and few things can live up to that much hype.
Astonishingly though, this album does.
I think I’m correct to question the quality of a local bands output. I’ve come across many bands who pull off a fine performance onstage and produce CDs completely devoid of all the energy and groove that made me love their performance. I’ve also heard CDs that were quite good from bands I thought were awful in a live setting.
So it’s a little surprising that Fire.Safe.Cigarettes. captures the raw energy and enthusiasm of the band without watering down their sound to a bland, lifeless mush. All the hard rocking elements I love when seeing the band: the energy, the spontaneity, the humor and the cohesion are all present. The other thing I notice here but don’t often see in local music is that all the instruments work together to compliment each other instead of wrestling for the top spot in the mix. Even the omnipresent lead guitar doesn’t overpower the rest of the mix but serves to enhance what’s already going on. It’s like guitar/bass/drum/bongo combination comes together to form a stone arch with the keystone being a well written song.
“Ax2igF” is a silly yet catchy chanting of the bands name. “Olding” mixes some funky hillbilly guitar leads with sweet pop songwriting to create the oddest love song this side of Meatloaf. I love the whisper/scream dynamics on “Ohiowa” as well as the tongue-in-cheek, self-deprecating lyrics “my chest hurts/just complaining.” “Last Cigarette” is the track I would pick for a single if it were my choice. The verse features one of those guitar riffs that gets stuck in your head and refuses to leave and is paired with an irresistible singalong chorus. “HEY!” could almost be thought off as a ripoff of Nirvana’s “tourette’s” were it not for the incessant lead guitar weaving through it. “Going out west” would make a good second single. I think it’s about using welfare money to go on a trip to California and ends with the chant “Fight fire with fire and we’ll burn this town down.” This has always been a great closer for the live show.
My biggest complaint about the album is that it comes at the end of what I thought was the
beginning of a promising career. It’s been less than a year since I first heard them (at Taste the Scene Knees Freeze) and now they’re already passing into the ashes of a band that once was. They played one helluva farewell show where they stumbled through a half dozen songs and smashed their instruments. I’m not sure if the highlight was watching the bass player get tackled by the sound guy or hearing them asked to come back when they get a new project together.
I’m sure we’ll all be waiting for that new project.
Until then, you can download Fire.Safe.Cigarettes. for free here
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