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Monday, March 27, 2006

Review: Fire Engines - Codex Teenage Premonition

Live from the men's room at the Edinburgh, Scotland Holiday Inn, it's Fire Engines! As I was listening to this repetitive set of repetitive songs I was thinking it may have been somehow worthwhile around 1980, but not today. Codex Teenage Premonition was released in 2005 but it's demos and live tracks from around 1980, so one point to them. I'll take somebody's word for it that Fire Engines were a great band, but this cd seems like a fanatic's only affair.

They came from the same scene as Josef K and Orange Juice, which doesn't bode well for those who like, respectively, coherent songs and staying awake. A fan on Amazon notes: "their modus operandi was NO BAR CHORDS, an approach that gave their kinetic dance-punk a wire-thin guitar sound perfectly complimented by cowbell percussion and funky, clunky drumbeats."

I'm a fan of asymmetrical, jagged, asexual funk as long as the funk comes last, and the cd opens well enough with "Sympathetic Anaesthetic". It got into 5th gear right away and never varied, making it to me a swell piece of math rock. But, most of the tracks not only sounded like the first, they held no surprises at all after the first six seconds. "The Untitled One" mixed it up a bit and "Discord" was decent, but the onslaught of sameness wore me down and I barely sampled through the second half.

I'd give Fire Engines more credit for being noisy if they didn't play the same song over and over again. I see how Pussy Galore might have been influenced by them. It's an interesting aesthetic that soon worked more like an anesthetic.


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