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The Fiery Piano – Second Space | A Nod to Nordic Indie
Free Music Link: http://music.thefierypiano.com/album/second-space
Notes: Pay what you want for The Fiery Piano's album Second Space.
Second Space is the debut album from Gustaf Montelius’ band, The Fiery Piano. Preceded by the 4-track EP Sirens, this full-length effort is an accomplished and fluid follow up. Utilising the “cut and paste” techniques employed on Sirens to full effect, Second Space has a home made, DIY and notably low-fi feel. Hand crafted, delicate atmospherics, amidst a wave of indie pop. This is the product of a Stockholm basement.
Far from being overly polished, the perfection here is palpable, but not over-bearing. Like viewing HD through a dusty lens, you can see the crisp beauty with some clarity. But without the multiple layers to rifle through, Second Space would prove less interesting, less dynamic and less interactive.
Opening in a somewhat dramatic and ambitious fashion, track one, “Intro,” sets the scene with an apocalyptic and aspirational sound. The upbeat indie-pop melodies recurrently give way to moments of quiet, rhythmic melancholia. This is a frequent and intermittent occurrence throughout the album that prevents stagnation and the shifting textures of sound steer the album away from the repetitive abyss: stop second guessing, this is not your standard indie-pop regurgitation.
“Intro” runs smoothly into what is undoubtedly one of the albums highlights, “More Like A Tiger, Less Like A Dove.” A classic, high-energy, simmering-with-summer song, that eventually ends in organised chaos. It would not be rude to assume from here we might enjoy a steady, albeit beautiful, descent from what could easily be the album’s finest moment. But there are strengths scattered round every corner and due to the multi-faceted and multi-layered dimensions here, you are bound to keep on finding new favourites.
Although in keeping with the album as a whole, Second Space’s debut single, “Scene From A Science Fictional Love Story,” is by no means its highlight. Stand out tracks include “Companions,” which references the album’s title, and shoe-gazing slow burner, “Friend Of The Void.” “Ice” is a particularly strong point, emphasising Montelius’ poetic storytelling, which builds and eventually comes to fruition in climatic and well-executed euphoria.
The comparisons to Bright Eyes are fairly unavoidable. This record is particularly reminiscent of his 2005 electronic offering, Digital Ash in a Digital Urn. But the similarity is complimentary rather than derivative and emerges from the ability to fuse vulnerable vocals and masterful lyricism with experimental soundscapes.
From perky beginnings to ambient ends, the album closes on the humble but never sultry note, “Pegasus.” Lyrically sublime, the frailty of its opening is deceptive, as the tight rhythmic section (which by this point, we have come to expect) enters with an almost acrobatic exertion. Second Space leaves you feeling like you have just run through a musical assault course, only to feel a sense of exhausted completion.
There is an exquisite swoon marinating within the record. It is understated, lacking pretense, and fragile but never feeble. Self created, self produced and released on his own label, Montelius reveals that his work is “not made to earn more money for old men in new suits who already have enough.” It is this integrity and organic approach that injects the record with a rare and admirable sincerity. Second Space is nothing short of a considerable triumph.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
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This entry was posted in 2013, Albums & Singles, Artists, Europe, Free Music, Genre, January, Local, News, Pop, Release Date, Reviews, Shoegaze, Stockholm, Sweden, The Fiery Piano and tagged 2013, Albums & Singles, Bright Eyes, Companions, Digital Ash in a Digital Urn, Free Music, Friend of the Void, Genre, Gustaf Montelius, Ice, Indie Pop, Intro, January, More Like a Tiger Less Like a Dove, Pegasus, Review, Scene from a Science Fictional Love Story, Second Space, Sirens, Stockholm, Sweden, The Fiery Piano. Bookmark the permalink.