In the summer of 2009, Morrissey songwriter and lead guitarist, Alain Whyte and Kill Hannah frontman, Mat Devine found each other in a rare moment of mutual free time. The two began experimenting with songwriting and while they originally had no intention of ever releasing the product of this time together to the public, it soon became clear to them that what they were creating was not something to be kept to themselves.
Fast forward to September 14, 2010 and Setting Fires EP1 hits Amazon and iTunes as an MP3 album and the first release from the effort, The Search, can be heard in the background (and occasionally the foreground) of the opening segment of the season premier of the CW’s One Tree Hill.
Naturally, with the talent and ambition driving Setting Fires, the project has taken off like… well, like a wildfire. Since the discovery of the Setting Fires MySpace, the social network scene has been a constant buzz about it, gaining the pair a nearly instant fan base.
Devine’s undeniably unique tenor leads the EP’s four tracks with Whyte on guitar and Good Charlotte’s Dean Butterworth backing the duo on the drums. It was the EP’s fourth and closing track, This Means War, that quickly and easily caught this writer’s attention and became an instant favorite. Perhaps it is the urge I have to adjust the volume to the “share with the neighbors” setting that I find favorable but This Means War is definitely a song I could use to make a bad day fade into the background. Grade: A
The EP opens with Fallen Saints and my jury is still out on that one. For the most part, I do like it. However, while the other three tracks are fresh and original, Fallen Saints has a reminiscent feel to it that I cannot place and that I find a bit distracting. After playing it several times in a row, concentrating purely on that air that I was feeling circulating around the track, I finally found, buried deep in the musical vault that is my mind, the answer. The year was 1998, the band was Catatonia, the song, Mulder and Scully. Not the whole track, just bits – short, almost imperceptible moments, which actually makes them that much more distracting. Grade: C
The second track, Nobody Moves, tells of a girl who I have painted in my mind as a comic book style anti-heroine; a female rebuttal to, perhaps, The Punisher. A little unstable, on the edge of destroying everything in her path, and I love her. I want more of her story. A little something to think about, eh, Devine? Grade: B+ (A if we get more of this story in the future)
Finally, the track that started it all, The Search. Many words have been used to describe this track in the informal realm of social networking but among them have been brilliant, beautiful and breathtaking. Unfortunately, I have not been able to jump on that bandwagon. On my seven-point grading scale Setting Fires inaugural release, The Search, as only been able to garner itself a mere B-.
Overall, I give Setting Fires’ EP1 a B average. With the exception of This Means War, this will probably not find its way onto one of my favorites lists but it’s definitely something I would not only listen to again, and again, but also a collection I would recommend to others looking for something new and different. Check it out. It is definitely worth a spin or ten.