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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Review: The Amplifires - Fire On The Moon

The Amplifires - Fire On The Moon
2008, The Amplifires

The Amplifires have quite the pedigree. The Matlock, Derbyshire, England foursome has rubbed elbows on stage with some big names in British Rock N Roll. Vocalist Sharon Clancy is a former label mate of Clive Gregson (Any Trouble). Guitarist Steve Rawlinson was invited to join The Frantic Elevators (Mike Hucknall/Simply Red) at one time. David Brunt (Bass) played alongside The Red Guitars, The Housemartins (The Beautiful South) and Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt (Everything But The Girl). Ruth Dobson (drums) is a veteran of bands from as far afield as Abu Dhabi. The Amplifires peaked at #7 on the Reverb Nation worldwide alternative charts in 2008 and are beginning to generate some buzz through Europe, Japan and even in the United States. Their debut album, Fire On The Moon is an artful mix of pop, rock and punk that delivers a punch while relying on strong songwriting and big pop hooks.

Midnight Moses starts out the album on a heavy rock vibe with big guitars and a pulsing rhythm section that is reminiscent of the best of 1970's and 1980's heavy metal. Sharon Clancy's clear and powerful voice is the perfect counter to his big, heavy distorted sound, bringing clarity out of the maelstrom of sound. Wired continues the aural assault of guitar in a very garage-sounding recording. The song is very catchy, and Clancy's vocals swim just beneath the wall of sound rather than trying to overpower it. The end result is a highly enjoyable and entertaining song. To Be In Love continues the power chord onslaught in a sound with distinct punk rock trappings. This one has a real pop sensibility that belies the heavy crashing sound.

The Amplifires reverse fields on the sly and moody Dear Stalker, where the bass line skulks and hides in shadows just like the alleged protagonist. Just in case you start to wonder at this point if the album is taking a mellow turn, The Amplifires blow your headphones off with Windspun Day. The obligatory acoustic (or near-acoustic) tune shows up in Broken Wing. Clancy reaches more into her upper registry on this one and reveals some vocal inconsistencies that you realize have been there all along but don't show as clearly on the faster material. Clancy's voice isn't perfect, but it works for this material. Other highlights include Bitter Blue, Broken Pane, Next Time and Fire On The Moon. Fire On The Moon is probably the catchiest tune on the CD and is guaranteed to get your feet moving.

The Amplifires are old school rockers with a classic rock attitude. The lyrical content is a bit awkward at times but generally works quite well. Likewise vocalist Clancy isn't perfect but perfect for the garage sound The Amplifires put forward here. The sound quality of the recording is more in the Garage Band class than you might expect, but its all part of the mystique of The Amplifires. Warts and all they are one of the hardest rocking retro bands around. When they invade your town, go see them. In the mean time, give a listen to Fire On The Moon. It's a great spin.

Rating: 3.5 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about The Amplifires at (where you can purchase a copy of Fire On The Moon) or

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