Light for Fire – s/t

Rating: ★★★★½

At this point in time, there probably aren’t too many people familiar with the Portland outfit, Light for Fire.  Honestly, that’s probably the biggest tragedy we’ll come across, as their self-titled debut is chocked full of brilliant pop moments, fusing moments of great indie-pop with arrangements created by a singer-songwriter format.  It’s just flat out golden.

You’re going to struggle to find as good a one-two punch as the opening tracks on Light for Fire this year.  “The Huckster” appeals to those interested in the craftsmanship of a singer/songwriter, with the majority of the song revolving around strummed guitar and J. Nicholas Allard’s great vocal performance. From here the band joins Allard with the stomper, “NY (By the Hand),” which is in the running for one of the greater tracks of the year.  There’s a hint of a scratch to Allard’s voice, but with the banging piano and his storytelling, there’s not much that sounds better coming through your stereo speakers.

If you’re looking for some sort of generic marker to throw at Light for Fire, you’ll easily find comparisons to Spoon.  But, that being said, the band has cleaned up some of the noisy meandering that’s been associated with Spoon, instead allowing the poppier side to push on through.  Take “The Letters,” and you’ll have that semi-stomp, with Allard doing his best to give that scratchy croon perfected by Britt Daniels.  Even “Green Life” seems to take a bit from the comparison, using hints of piano to craft their tune, reminiscent of some of the singles off GaGaGaGaGaGa.  This isn’t a bad comparison, as few people write great pop numbers in the vein of Spoon. But, I suppose someone’s bound to get caught up in the similarities.

But, the more you listen to these eleven tracks, the more you see the band has definitely attached themselves to the songwriting of Allard, and rightfully so. “Where I Was Born” is a track for storytellers, with the narrator giving a brief summation of his life.  There’s restraint in the guitar playing, that is until the band jumps in, making it a passionate Americana rocker. And with “4th of July,” you get a quiet number that evokes other songwriters from the Portland area.  Allard’s voice takes on a more gentle quality, and the guitar lines barely trickle into your ear.

One of the best things you can do for your day is to get your hands on this wonderful effort by Light For Fire.  Yes, there’s touchstones of modern indie stars, but beneath those allusions lives great songwriting.  It’s executed to perfection, providing listeners with eleven tracks, not one of which begs to be skipped. For a band seemingly coming out of nowhere, this is the perfect place to start.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/nybythehand.mp3]

Download: Light for Fire – NY (By the Hand) [MP3]

More New Music from Light for Fire

Last month I brought you an incredible track from Light for Fire, and they’ve just pushed out another little single for the masses.  This time around, they give you a bit more of a folk-troubadour sound, but you know that’s never a bad thing in our book.  It seems that every track this band puts out just begs to be played over and over again, regardless of where you are.  Their self-titled album is out now, and available for your pleasure, so take my advice, as this is a collection of songs that won’t leave your record player for some time.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/thehuckster.mp3]

Download: Light for Fire – The Huckster [MP3]

New Music from Light for Fire

You would think that a band made up of former members of The Village Green would have some sort of Davies-esque influence of their songwriting, but this doesn’t seem to be the case for Portland’s Light for Fire.  They’ve just released their self-titled debut, and you’ll be disappointed if you don’t give this a good solid listen.  Personally, I hear an edgier Dr. Dog, but that’s probably based on the piano line.  Still, that guitar chord that knifes its way through the song just cleanses your palate before the band brings it all home again, making for one heck of a single.  Be sure to check out the band’s SITE to preview their entire album.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/nybythehand.mp3]

Download: Light for Fire – NY (By the Hand) [MP3]