Fire Engines

By RYAN FOLEY  |  January 23, 2006
3.0 3.0 Stars

With their frenetic guitars, near-indecipherable vocals, and lo-fi production, Fire Engines are the least likely ’80s post-punk band to be experiencing a revival of sorts. But that’s exactly the case for this four-piece act from Edinburgh. Following projects with fellow Scotsmen Franz Ferdinand — a 2004 Christmas show in Glasgow and a seven-inch single featuring each band playing the other’s material — Fire Engines take another tiny step from under the shadow of obscurity with this compilation release from Domino. Featuring unreleased studio tracks and live material (including the band’s first show), Codex Teenage Premonition nicely captures Fire Engines’ noise-before-melodies no-wave sound, which inspired the next generation of Scottish bands (the Jesus and Mary Chain in particular). Sharp, spiky riffs on “Get Up and Use Me” and “Meat Whiplash” poke holes in the frantic rhythm line created by bassist Graham Main and drummer Russell Burn. One of the few down-tempo numbers, “New Things in Carton” still features the trademark jittery guitars of Davy Henderson and Murray Slade. There’s also a “naked” (no-strings) version of Fire Engines’ best-known song: “Candyskin.”


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