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The Fires of Life

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Album Review

Cool Hand Luke's sophomore effort finds the trio more fully integrating the various elements of its sound into a coherent whole, still working in a dreamy, slow to midtempo mode and downplaying obvious hooks in favor of lush, layered textures. Imagine, if you will, an unabashedly Christian version of the Cure, or perhaps a more fleshed-out Red House Painters. The songs were inspired by a particularly difficult year in the life of singer and drummer Mark Nicks, and they tend to deal with issues of anguish and emotional desperation and, finally, a renewal of faith. On "Sequence #3" Nicks revisits a standard doctrinal trope with the repeated line "I never really lived until I died with You," and on songs like "I'm Not Ready" and "Foster" he lays his own conversion process out in sometimes harrowing detail. The degree to which you find the album compelling will depend, in large part, on your willingness to sit through 11 tracks of songs with one overriding lyrical concern, all delivered at one tempo and governed by a single mood. It will also depend on your openness to explicit religiosity, which in this case extends to Bible cross-references in the lyric sheet. Musically, The Fires of Life grows on you; lyrically, you'll either hear it immediately or you probably won't at all.

Customer Reviews

Simply Amazing!

Cool Hand Luke is beyond description. They write songs that are lyrically meaningful and melodies that are sweet and smooth. Definately worth your $10 bucks.

The most complete albumn you'll ever hear

While there isn't a single song that just jumps out at you, the album as a whole is phenomenal. In order to really appreciate it, you have to play though it in it's entirety. I own something like 600 CDs, but I've never heard one flow like this. It really is a musical journey, much like The Everglow by Mae, although I would argue the Fires of Life is even better.

Changed my life.

This album changed my life. I listen to so much great indie music, and Cool Hand Luke is still my favorite band ever because of this album. I cannot tell you how many times I listened to this album through and through. Hundreds of times. No exaggeration. It got me through some really rough times in my life. Mark Nicks poignancy really speaks to me...