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Monday, 24 November 2008


I'm a Beatle nut - one of those extreme fans who get anything Beatle related, collecting all the fab four's solo albums regardless of quality. Paul McCartney, always the most prolific of the ex fabs, has been on something of a roll in recent years, with his last few albums being great, often brilliant, but no one expected this late masterpiece from him. Particularly as part of his Fireman guise. At last the ghost of the Frog Song and Ebony and Ivory have been laid to rest.

This is the third Fireman album, the previous two were made up of strange techno, ambient vibes. I bought them, even if they were not my cup of tea, but this latest effort, the first Fireman album in 10 years, is up there with his best work - equal to Chaos and Creation and Ram, better than Band on the Run and Flaming Pie. And probably the most creative thing the ex-fab and Angela Lansbury lookalike has done since the early 70's.

Every track is amazing - the soundscape travels around you, the melodies get into your soul, and this curious rock, avant garde mix gives you a feeling of great joy. It gets you singing alone in the way The Beatles used to. In fact we could say, we love this, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Track by track

1 - nothing too much just out of sight - A great anthemic rocker to start the set. Macca's voice sounds suitably raw.

2-Two Magpies - a lovely rocky tune. Anyone ever noticed how many of Macca's softer songs are bird related - Two Magpies, Blackbird, Bluebird, Flying to my home. And then again he named his vanity group, Wings. This track certainly flies but then the whole album rocks.

3-Sing the changes - again excellent rock and anthemic

4-Travelling Light - starts off with a curious sounding MACCA vocal before building to a cresendo and then going absolutely bonkers. Oh and Macca mentions a bluebird in the lyrics.

5 - Highway - there she goes, looking like a wreck, got too many highlights and a lovebite on her neck - Macca does Chav in this standout rocker.

6 - Light from your lighthouse - my particular favourite. The chorus is so catchy.

7 - Sun is shining - in a word - awesome

8 - Dance till we're High - this one goes everywhere and it's entire journey is first class

9 - Lifelong Passion - a fitting song given that Macca's music is a lifelong passsion for many people.

10 - Is this Love - Starts off with an African rhythm and then becomes a lovely dreamy ode to true love

11-Lovers in a dream - the most techno oriented track on the album. It sounds strange on first listen but grows and gets under your skin.

12-Universal here, everlasting love - A syrupy piano kicks the track off before being drowned out by ambient sounds - many are familiar - is that the alarm clock from A Day in the Life? The dog's barking were definataly used on Broad Street's Eleanor's Dream classical piece and the bird sounds could be the ones used in the Sun King

13 - Don't stop running- rounds off the album and proves that Macca hasn't stopped running nor rocking.

Every track rocks , it all gells nicely and this album is brilliant but don't take my word for it.

From The Sunday Times
Paul McCartney seems intent on trying to convince us all that he was the most experimental Beatle, always ready with a tape loop, but this agenda misses the point that the core of the Beatles’ work — the singles, not Revolution 9 — was far more experimental and important than anything by Stockhausen or Varèse. The forms of music the Beatles developed didn’t exist before, and now they’re everywhere. So, McCartney is at his best when he applies his experimental leanings to pop, when he takes a conventional song and hurls his talent at it without worrying about the consequences. That’s what happens on Electric Arguments, where his co-Fireman, Youth, establishes himself as the man’s best creative partner since you-know-who, and the result is the most exciting McCartney album since Band on the Run.

From Rolling Stone:

fter a decade-plus hiatus, Sir Paul revives his low-profile, weed-scented collaboration with superproducer Youth (U2, the Orb), retrofitting their abstract electronica with good ol' psychedelic rock for the ex-Beatle's headiest music in years. "Nothing Too Much Just Out of Sight" throws "Helter Skelter" hollering over electric blues. "Two Magpies" joins "Blackbird" in McCartney's folksy aviary; "Sing the Changes" is catchy, woozy pop. The set peaks with "Travelling Light," a magical mystery tour of reverbed chants, slide-guitar swoops, kalimbas and chimes. It's freak folk by a forefather.

From the BBC

by Chris Jones
14 November 2008

Ten years after Paul McCartney and Martin 'Youth' Glover (ex Killing Joke) released their last collaborative 'mystery disc' under the Fireman moniker (the dancey Rushes) they return. Any right-thinking musicologist may balk at the the wisdom of two bassists working together, but the pair's efforts have always borne interesting fruit. However, anyone expecting Electric Arguments to fit under the same 'experimental' or 'electronic' bracket as previous work may be surprised. Only Universal Here, Everlasting Now's collages are really mind-melting. Much like Eno and Byrne's recent reunion, this album defies expectations by featuring not only vocals and lyrics but, gasp, songs! In fact Electric Arguments is nothing less than a rather fine McCartney solo album, perhaps shoved out under the alias to show a certain label who's really boss. Whatever, it's a spry 13-track (and one hidden track) jaunt through styles a-plenty; from psychedelic folk to blues grit.

If there's any argument for calling this truly 'experimental' it's because the duo leave the endings rough as a badger's bottom and have a tendency to throw in some Mellotron, a touch of flanging to the voice, or play stuff...backwards. Wow. But this is Macca and he's on form, seemingly using the freedom of relative anonymity to stretch out, relax, turn on, tune in, drop out and make like a kid in a sonic sandbox, mixing it up and throwing some curveballs. Opener, Nothing Too Much Just Out Of Sight comes on like Zep meeting Beefheart, full of mealy-mouthed blues harp and Helter Skelter raging. Light From Your Lighthouse comes direct from Dylan and the Band's rootsy basement and Lifelong Passion's raga and synth mix may well be Paul's tribute to George Harrison.

Not everything convinces. Is This Love? meanders dangerously like a b-side. Sun Is Shining drones with buccolic good naturedness but goes nowhere: Paul gets up sees the sun shining down etc. etc. Lovers In A Dream ("...warmer than the sun" repeated over a trance burble) falls down a somewhat featureless hole between early Primal Scream and the Orb, while Dance 'Til We're High misses being Paul Oakenfold and instead ends up like Phil Spector.

No matter, this is a rather tasty little album that reminds us again who was the adventurous one in the Moptops. Thumbs aloft, indeed.




Chris said...

That last review from a BBC writer named Chris Jones really caught my eye. Nice name, that!

On another note, I had no idea this collection existed, or that McCartney had collaborated in this way. Thanks for the review.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Got a great review in the NYT this morning. I'm sold.


I'm still grooving to it


And still grooving - must have played it a hundred times.

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