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The Golden Hour

Firewater

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Album Review

In photography, the golden hour is when the sunlight is at the perfect angle to capture beautiful images; in the medical world, it's the window of time where a life can still be saved after severe injuries. Both meanings could apply to The Golden Hour, Firewater's first album of original material in four years: it's a musical travelogue of the three years Tod A. spent in India, Turkey, Pakistan, and Indonesia (which he also chronicled in the blog Postcards from the Edge of the World) after his divorce and the reelection of President George W. Bush in 2004, and each song is like a vibrant, sometimes violent, snapshot along the way. A.'s travels were no vacation — if anything, there's a sharper edge to his songwriting here than in years, and combined with the contributions of local musicians from each country, The Golden Hour is some of Firewater's most consistently potent music. The album underscores its concept by kicking off with "Borneo," a jaunty, pissed-off exit song listing all the reasons for leaving the U.S. ("You got a monkey for a president" is near the top) with theatrical flair, and from there, A. and crew — including drummer/producer Tamir Muskat of Balkan Beat Box — find ways to dance on their troubles with quintessentially Firewater songs like "Hey Clown," "Already Gone," and "Three Legged Dog." The band ups the ante with "This Is My Life," where the tumba, chimta, and dholki of the native musicians (many of whom normally play in the backing bands for belly dancers) add an extra spark to the song's already fiery rhythm. But for every brash moment on The Golden Hour, there is an equally vulnerable one, whether it's the cautionary tales of "Paradise" and "A Place Not So Unkind" or "Six Forty Five," an elegant ballad filled with emptiness as it wanders from sunset to sunrise. On "Weird to Be Back," Tod A. notes that "everything's the same or maybe just a little worse," but that can't be said of The Golden Hour — it's some of Firewater's angriest, most poignant, and most accomplished music.

Customer Reviews

Great new album

Some time traveling brings a powerful, bright new energy to Firewater's music. Looking forward to hearing more.

It's Golden!

Really great mix of sounds coming together in this album. Very refreshing .

excellent!

nice combination of rock with hints of the Middle East very original

Biography

Formed: 1995 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

New York-based band Firewater incorporated a global range of musical influences into their highly dynamic sound. A loosely knit ensemble centered around the lead vocals of ex-Cop Shoot Cop bass player Tod A. (born: Tod Ashley), Firewater tied together such influences as Klezmer, Indian wedding music, art-punk, and Tom Waits-style cabaret poetry to create their heady, often quite danceable sound. Coupled with...
Full bio
The Golden Hour, Firewater
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