erasing clouds

Fire Engines, Buddhist Monk on Fire Stickers

reviewed by anna battista

Remembering the glorious days of Scottish band Josef K in the booklet for the band's 1998 best of Endless Soul, Creeping Bent's Douglas MacIntyre writes, "…Josef K were at the peak of their powers … One gig with the Fire Engines in Edinburgh sticks out as being particularly memorable, both groups were burning up at this point. The sound and the fury fused with white light heat demanded total attention. Their guitars were on collision course with Venus, sparking electrical stimulation in their trail. The blank generation were left trying to decode the scrambled frequencies."

The many fans of the Fire Engines out there who still want to hear the sound and the fury of a band in constant collision not only with Venus but also with the rest of the universe, should try to get a copy of Buddhist Monk On Fire Stickers. This mini-album contains rare tracks by the Fire Engines recorded live at the Leith Community Centre in 1980 (their first gig EVER!) and at Valentinos in Edinburgh in 1981. The sound of the recordings, among them also classics such as "Discord", "Sympathetic Anaesthetic", "Plastic Gift", "New Thing In Cartons" and "Meat Whiplash", is raw, angry and extreme. Fuzzy guitars, distorted vocals and a mighty rage, all the elements which characterised the Fire Engines' music and later the Nectarine No. 9's are already diluted in each of the seven songs collected here. The album also contains a bonus track by Captain Beefheart's The Magic Band, recorded live in Edinburgh in January 2004.

Buddhist Monk On Fire Stickers is available at live Fire Engines' gigs, but should also be available soon to download on Creeping Bent Digital. Lubricate your ears then by listening to this furious and irresistible mess of sounds.

Issue 25, July/August 2004

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