Review: Fire! Orchestra – Enter

Fire - EnterFire! have learned to navigate the field of sound blindfolded, so that during those moments of transcendent blackout – where drums tumble like underwater pebbles swept into river current, and the bass riff swings impeccably like a self-perpetuating pendulum, and shrill voices collapse into lustful make-outs with wailing brass – they can seize the reins again, veer off the straight path of infinite escalation and carry Enter elsewhere. There are points at which the momentum looks to shackle Fire! where they stand: the first six minutes of part two for example, which falls into a locked groove of trumpet muscle, daggered organs and percussive smack (via a directly lifted beat from Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows”, dragging the samsara of tape looping back into the realm of real-world energy exchange). Yet the ensemble plant escape routes for themselves; paper ceilings that give way when the vigour tips into excess. In the case of part two, the rhythm flattens under amplifier meltdown and ferocious noise jets, forced out into the chaos of the open air.

The sheer strength of the record is terrific. I hear the lungs of saxophonists deflate in an instant, and I see veins hit rupture point on the heads of Enter’s guest vocalists (via the thick demands of Silverbullit’s Simon Ohlsson, or the buckled strain of Mariam Wellentin). I hear rock rhythms slamming into the downbeats, and I hear the solemn baritone demands of trumpet sending drums into a guilty sort of panic. Yet more impressive still is how Fire! scale back. Enter is not loud because it doesn’t know how else to communicate, and the ferocity alternates with states of soft, contemplative questioning; sudden snaps of rational thought that tug the dynamic back into pockets of patience and moderation. For instance, part four reprises the funk and slink of part one – a Rhodes-led gospel track wading through treacle – and reduces it to a point of whispered hammock rock, steeping itself in the central melody. The finale that follows is subsequently loaded with the blues from whence it came, turning mournful placation into rich, vengeful strength. Far from a simple shuttle run between eruption and exhaustion, Enter swaggers with the weight of motive and righteous revenge.