Ball of Flame Shoot Fire : Zileur (Mi Mi Mo Mo)
It’s really hard to describe Ball of Flame Shoot Fire’s music without just insisting that you listen to it yourself. Their new album, Zileur (Mi Mi Mo Mo), has a title that kind of says it all while not saying quite anything. The best word I have to describe it is ‘peculiar.’ Oddly enough, peculiar isn’t a bad thing. The more I learn about the band, who formed in Pennsylvania in 2006, the more all of the quirky things fit together. For example, this album was recorded in a home recording studio in an abandoned funeral home. The abandoned funeral home that the band lives in together. They built the studio in their home in order to get an organic feel to the album, and it worked because nothing sounds forced. As for more quirkiness, their interests include eating, not eating, and arguing about food. Their Facebook photo looks like a family portrait taken at Sears, and I’m not saying that to make a joke, I think that’s what they were going for. Somehow it all makes sense when you hear the album.
So back to the music. It’s definitely not conventional. The band’s Facebook page says that their genre is “jass.” It reminds me of Weezer’s “El Scorcho,” though Weezer’s track seems like a pop song in comparison to this album. There’s an electric piano, a trumpet, drums, guitar, some falsetto vocals (on all but two of the songs,) and a whole lot of syncopation. The lyrics seem to be in a stream-of-consciousness style and are addressed to specific people. Memories are mixed with direct addresses and nonsensical statements (like that “she rode on a clamshell into town,” maybe the band is tight with Botticelli’s Venus.) “Gregorio” almost sounds like that inevitable drunken night where someone tells his friends what he really thinks of them. That, or they just really hate a guy named Gregorio and want to let him know with some slow vocals. “Ed” is more of a conventional song without so much syncopation; it almost completely lacks the falsetto and has a twang to the guitar to the guitar in the beginning but is later dominated by the electric piano and saxophone. “Bad Thing” has a recurring theme about a rat in the house, but there are a whole lot of other things going on in those lyrics. Since it’s been stuck in my head all day, it’s the MP3 (now it can be stuck in your head, too!)
While I usually hate songs that completely lack conventional elements or don’t have a rhythm that my brain can predict and follow, but for some reason Zileur works. The songs are peppy, the instruments are a pleasant surprise, and even the falsetto vocals (which normally are not my thing at all) seem to fit. So all in all, it’s different, but it works.
MP3: Ball of Flame Shoot Fire “Bad Thing”
Buy: iTunes or Bandcamp