The Fireman has returned after a ten-year break with something to sing about. Electric Arguments, the brand new third studio album from the mysterious duo – out in Canada on November 25 on MapleMusic Recordings/ATO Records, with distribution through Fontana North - is their first release to feature vocals.
“Ambient dreams in rainbow arches describe the circles of The Fireman” is how the duo described their music in a rare interview around the release of their last album Rushes in 1998. Their first album Strawberries Oceans Ships Forest, released in 1993, was a solid ambient dance album heavy on electronics. Around this time the identity of The Fireman was unknown until the press exposed the duo as none other than Paul McCartney and Youth. The now defunct music bible Melody Maker heaped praise on the project, “Paul McCartney has discovered dance music - the results are staggeringly brilliant. They (The Fireman) take a melody and, with dexterous genre-hopping through ambient, trance and house, evolve a number of breathtaking variations.”
Last year The Fireman returned to work again to start work on what would become Electric Arguments, ultimately finding thirteen days and recording a song on each of those days over the course of a little more than a year. The results this time are entirely different from any previous Fireman release.
Earlier this year The Fireman donated a new track, “Lifelong Passion” (which appears on Electric Arguments) to the charity Adopt-A-Minefield. This new track marked a directional change for The Fireman, showcasing a more traditional song based sound with vocals, completely unlike anything on the previous two albums. Speculation increased as a ’studio source’ was quoted in The Times of London as describing their new sound ‘like Arcade Fire meets Led Zeppelin’. So what had The Fireman been up to and what does the album sound like?
Electric Arguments is an eclectic and varied album consisting of thirteen tracks, each written and recorded in the space of one day. McCartney and Youth went into the studio with no master plan or clear direction. Instead they let the project take a life of its own, with the results surprising them as much as anyone.
The record opens with a stylistically diverse trifecta: “Nothing Too Much Just Out Of Sight” is a classic rock attention grabber followed by a hairpin turn in the form of the acoustic driven “Two Magpies” and yet another direction with “Sing The Changes”, a euphoric upbeat song with an undeniable and instantly memorable melody. Electric Arguments continues in this fashion, each track with an entirely different personality yet all meshing perfectly. Other standouts include “Light From Your Lighthouse”, “Sun Is Shining” and “Dance ‘Til We’re High”, all in keeping with the genre-hopping spirit of the first two Fireman albums and demonstrating Paul McCartney’s unending interest in pure musical possibilities. This is an album set to both surprise and delight the listener. Made with no record company restraints or a set release date to work to, Electric Arguments is a work of omplete artistic and creative freedom.