Outlive Your Body by Firesuite

Release date: November 17, 2017
Label: Self Released
What they don’t tell you when you start a music blog is that after a point, once you get to a certain size, your life becomes about 97% admin and actually doing any writing yourself very much takes a backseat. In fact I haven’t personally written a review since October 2016. As a result, I’ve been trying to write this review for the best part of three months now and have realised that I have almost forgotten how. I’m absolutely determined to get it done though, because this is an album that absolutely deserves reviewing.
 
We’ve got history, me & Firesuite. Way back in 2011 I reviewed their debut album, You’re An Ocean Deep, My Brother. It blew me away. So much so we went & signed them to our shortlived & haphazardly run record label for their Red World EP. Like I said, history. We’ve been on quite the journey together over the last 7 years, so when they got back in touch with what is to be their final record, Outlive Your Body, you can see why I really wanted to be the one to review it.
 
Enough of the backstory, on to the record. Firstly, god damn this is a good record. It’s just a straight up fucking belter.

I don’t think they would take exception to me saying that all along their goal in life has been to sound something like a cross between early Smashing Pumpkins and Oceansize. Well, there are moments on this album where they transcend both of those bands; especially on the closing run of four tracks from ‘Spaceport’ through to the epic, heart-rending instrumental ‘Lights’. It’s a sequence of songs as good as you will hear on any album and a sublimely fitting way to bow out as a band.
 
Before we dwell too much on the end, let’s go back to the beginning and the other instrumental bookend, ‘Deadbeat’. Opening as it does with the dirtiest of dirty synth bass lines and heavy fuzz guitar, it sets the tone for what is to come perfectly and clearly announces that this is by far the best produced of their three records; the depth of the sound is staggering in places.
 
Moving on, we get a short respite in the shape of ‘Sea Forgets My Name’ which to these ears harks back to ‘Stay’ from their debut record. The breather doesn’t last long though as ‘Little Sacrifices’ returns to the claustrophobic fuzz and settles in for much of the rest of the album through ‘Even Hand’, the absolutely immense ‘Harbour’, ‘SJVL’ & ‘Wolves Below’.
 
It is only when we get to ‘Edge Of The Earth’ do the clouds part and a few rays of sunlight play over the wasteland of what has gone before. A moment to take stock before plunging in to the maelstrom of those last four tracks. In the context on what has gone before and knowing that this is their final musical moment, I dare you to have a dry eye by the time ‘Lights’ draws to a close. 
 
I know the decision to call it a day has been a very difficult and emotional one for the band; they have poured so much of their lives and themselves in to this project over the years but it’s not often a band gets to go out on their own terms and this is some way to go out. PT Barnum famously said “always leave them wanting more” and Firesuite have certainly done that with Outlive Your Body. But there will be no more and that is sad yet somehow it is also uplifting for they have created their magnum opus, they have fulfilled their potential and have left the world of music a better place than it was when they started and who can not see the joy in that?
 
Track by Track guide by Chris (Vocals / Guitar)
 

So yes. This is it…finally. We did start out with the intention of making an album, then we kind of lost our bottle when I began obsessing over having an album I would adore front to back. This led to songs being taken off the record. Lots of arguing. Lots of recording. But we got there in the end.

Deadbeat
The record was always intended to open and close with instrumental passages. I wanted the opening to be fuzzy and silly and heavy. This is a LOT of fun to play live.

Sea Forgets My Name
Lyrically there’s a lot happening on the record…whilst limited in skill, I try and find a “lost/hidden chord” mentality when it comes to lyrics. This is meant to be about the guilt of having the band come along for the ride on a folly over being unable to come to terms with a death. And also being worried that the band will come to an end, and also that I will somehow lose touch with the visceral gut punch feeling of real, deep dark grief, which, whilst debilitating in many ways, can be a peculiar comfort.

Little Sacrifices/ Even Hand
The most recent tracks written for the record, and written after a slump. The poisonous atmosphere in the country seemed to pervade everything after last summer, these came out of this. Little Sacrifices was partly inspired by the ever present threat of nuclear annihilation.

Harbour
Written about wanting to escape Sheffield pretty much. Written after seeing friends and friends of friends fall to pieces despite being incredibly talented, but not being able to translate that into anything significant enough to transport them away from their own little black hole.

SJVL
Did toy with putting this last (until we found Lights). This is a tribute to the last few weeks we had with Sam (Lopez) after he departed back to Mexico. He came to our rehearsal room on several occasions whilst we were trying to learn this, and came with us on a little tour where we played it every night. It reminds us of him, he’s been a champion of us for many a year and we miss him.

Wolves Below
Similar thematically to “Sea Forgets…”. I saw a poster of a young Japanese girl in a tree surrounded by wolves but they were completely non-threatening…It’s about realising you kind of need the horror to function. “The wolves below were an open door”

Edge Of The Earth
The oldest track on here. The bones even pre-date even some stuff on our first LP. I decided I would finish it because it never left my head. I am so proud with how it turned out, the strings just lift it to a place we’ve never tried to reach before. Super pretty. Sarah’s other world vocal was done at a rare day I wasn’t at the studio, and I remember feeling a little overcome with emotion when I heard it.

Spaceport/Eulogy
The intention was to structure the record so that it built to an emotional climax during the latter third, of which Spaceport starts. More cinematic and atmospheric. These two tracks are possibly my favourite moments on the album, mainly due to the experience I had being locked away in the studio making them. The studio is perched on the edge of Sheffield high up in the hills (pic attached). It’s stunning. I went through a really low point during the recording of the album. It became a rolling art project and just devoured every experience and feeling I had. Both my paternal grandparents died, my relationship with much of my closest family became incredibly strained, and this was the resulting soundtrack.. My dad was a bad guy, and seeing the effect that had on my siblings made me want to document why I wouldn’t want to speak at his funeral (or try and justify to myself why I don’t feel I should).

Womb
Genuinely do not remember recording this. I remember writing it really late a night and rehearsing it in a haze of drink. I know we used two drum kits on the track. It’s meant to be a soundtrack to that stage of the night where you’re nice and toasted and contemplate writing a Bond song.It’s all about being in your own head

Lights
I found a recording on my old phone where I was strumming this, and you can hear my son in the background (who was much younger at the time). It just made me think about how the intention of everything we have done and do is to try and outlast us, we try and outrun the inevitable…it made me nostalgic and sad and hopeful all at once even listening to that scrappy demo . When we had cracked this live, we all stood and looked at each other. I’ll never forget it. I was tearful. I am incredibly proud of this (and the record as a whole). This feels very much like an end, and a fitting soundtrack to one.

Pin It on Pinterest