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  For the Browsing of Pretension  
  1000 Fires  
Release Date:
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1000 Fires are an Atlanta-based post-hardcore act who make music reminiscent of Fugazi. I have seen them live a few times, and they never fail to put on a good show. Their music actually translates fairly well to the recorded medium too, which isn't always the case with this type of music.

This is, i think their debut EP. However, since its release, the band has undergone a lineup change, and now when i look at their website, this CD is not listed there anymore. I suppose it is somewhat "out of print" since the lineup change. No matter, they gave EvilSponge a review copy, so i will persevere with the review nonetheless. I suppose that if you are interested, you could contact them via the website and they could hook you up.

There are 6 and a half tracks here, so let me go over each.

The EP starts with that sample of that trial where Senator McCarthy's reign of terror ended. This sample is overplayed, really. I think all of us can recite "Have you no sense of decency, sir?" in time with the quote, but it's still a good one. After the sample ends, 1000 Fires erupt with a flurry of guitars, strong emo-ish voices, and loud drumming. The song is called Red, and is a decent tune overall, moving along at an angry presumably leftist pace.

The next track, Story of a Cab Driver, is a generic song for this genre. Power chords, strong bass and drums, and vaguely shouted vocals meander along. It's not bad, but this song does not distinguish itself from the masses of songs done in this style.

1000 Fires follow this with Mistake, in which a really nice bass riff underpins a Fugazi-esque wall of screeching guitars. I like the vocals here: the whole band hollering "he's shocked shocked and he's ready to goooo....." This is a good energetic song.

Made Up is next and this really sounds like a Fugazi tune. Not that there is anything wrong with that, it's just that on this song 1000 Fires wear their influences a little too openly. Here, the two vocalists, Hank Beaver and Travis Cartoski, sing against each other, half in harmony and half out, one sort of shouting while the other sort of sings. The bass is also nicely funky, and, despite the derivative nature of the song, it's not a bad one by any stretch.

On the next track, A Stone in a Sand Castle, the band really cuts loose. The guitars whirl away in a frenzy of chording, and the drums really thud in a heavy handed manner. This is a good rocking tune.

Finally we end with Left Me, the last listed song on the album. This is a short piece, played slower and less furiously than the other tunes. It's slightly more mournful, especially when you contrast the slowness with the fury of the other tunes.

After Left Me fades out, there is about a minute or so of silence and then, a hidden track. Wow, people still do these? I guess so, and, really, this is one of the most annoying things i have ever heard on a recording, and i've listened to an entire side of Metal Machine Music! Basically, this is somebody's kid tapping at the drums and singing, well, screeching, tunelessly. I am sure that the proud parents think it's cute, but the kid's screaming scares my cats and annoys the crud out of me. It isn't amusing to anyone who isn't biologically related to the child, so just keep it to yourselves, okay?

Okay, sorry about the rant there, but that last piece really grates on my nerves. In general, the recording is vaguely flat, which is okay for this type of music, but it is a quiet recording, which i find weird. Oh, i don't mean that the sound is quiet, but rather when i put this CD in my multi-changer, it's much quieter than any other disc i can put it in with. I guess this has something to do with it being self-released.

Overall, this isn't a bad little EP. I do like their sound: it's not the most innovative thing out there, but they do it well. Except for that last bit, which grates on my nerves like you would not believe. If you like Fugazi and their ilk, then i would wager that For The Browsing of Pretension would be a welcome addition to your CD collection. And look for 1000 Fires in concert around Atlanta -- their music comes across very well in concert.

Related Links:

The 1000 Fires website, which has a few MP3s featuring post-lineup change tunes.


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