Due soon from Bloodshot, International Orange is Tod A’s most fascinating musical
melange to date.
By Lee Zimmerman
If Firewater had any
intention of consolidating the often times erratic approach that stamped the
other albums released since their heady late ‘90s beginnings, it certainly
isn’t evidenced in their latest opus, the obliquely International Orange!.
All the odd and disparate elements so essential to leader Tod A’s musical
melange remain — the propulsive beats, the riveting brass, the bleary-eyed
melodies — not to mention a cultural convergence that could make the U.N. look
positively syncopated in comparison.
Mr. A comes across
like an ideal toastmaster general, bearing some of the sneer of Graham Parker
while inciting the flock and vamping to the groove. Veering dizzily from the
rockabilly twang and primal beat of album opener, “A Little Revolution,”
through the middle eastern riffing of “Glitter Days” and the ska-tinged
threesome “Up From the Underground,” “Nowhere To Be Found” and “The Monkey
Song,” he leaves few stones unturned in his frenetic desire to embrace all
those elements of his choosing. Along the way he manages to slip in some ready
refrains and enough determination to keep this loose conglomeration on course.
As always, Firewater
are fueled with earnest intent, which makes for a most fascinating foray as