Eschewing any taint of the term “freak”, New York trio Tall Firs are forging a different take on contemporary folk. Indebted more to the Velvet Underground than Vashti Bunyan, the band is defiantly electric and bleakly urban. While that aesthetic alone is enough to explain their affiliation with Thurston Moore’s Ecstatic Peace, Tall Firs further confirm that connection as they lay into dark and discordant grooves. Still even at that chaotic apex Tall Firs hardly ever approach outright squall and only invoke Sonic Youth at their most subdued. Something that strident might actually have helped Tall Firs maintain interest over their occasionally lackadaisical debut. Although any meandering aimlessness is usually offset by the band’s effective use of mood, these more jammy moments undermine their otherwise starkly economic arrangements. May be those passages flow more naturally in a live setting, but something has clearly been lost in translation from stage to studio. While that may make for a modest debut, it offers enough to suggest Tall Firs are well worth remembering for the future. With a little more control over their craft, they have the potential to evolve into something much more mesmerizing.
// Notes from the Road
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