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       STILL LIFE
       
Takeover Records

1)
Cadillac
2) Flying Blind
3) Freud Said It Was Cool
4) Promises Of Real Life
<< 5) Verona Post >>
6) Stay Awake
7) Ken
8) Awkward Pose
9) Music And Spirits
10) Canned Laughter
11) U-Turn
12) Aquafolium
13) Say Hello
14) Aces Over Eights
Buy This Album
Band Website
       There's been quite some buzz over Strike.Fire.Fall. For those of you just tuning in, SFF won Takeover Records' Sign My Band contest last year. Accordingly, SFF has received quite a bit of publicity already, and with their first signed release, they kind of had their work cut out for them. They got a fair amount of attention during the much-lauded Takeover Records contest, and people have pretty definite expectations of the new band on the label.
        So how does SFF measure up to how promising it seemed?
        Well… it does alright.
        The band has definitely put out a real album.
Still Life is a clean, well-produced LP; prior to release, the band had a lot of demos of quite a few different songs floating around on Myspace, on Purevolume, all over the place. They got their music out, but it was a bit sketch; with the release of the album, SFF has really separated the wheat from the chaff and polished the best that they have to offer. Having sampled what's still out there to preview, I'd say that Still Life showcases most of the best songs SFF has to offer, in the most favorable light possible.
        So what's the album like? Well, it's not an album that leaps out and grabs you—as I mentioned, the album is very much SFF putting their best face forward, but while it definitely has some outstanding characteristics, it has neither the recurring themes nor enough "hit" songs to give the album any real personality. With some exceptions,
Still Life is very much a disconnected collection of songs, as SFF shows off what they can do instrumentally and lyrically.
        Having established that the album as a whole didn't blow me away, I must acknowledge that there are definitely good tracks on this CD, and some very nice touches in certain songs, as well as within the band's overall style. For instance, I was highly amused when an older-and-wiser friend of mine pointed out the sound bites of Tom Cruise in "Freud Said It Was Cool"; it really adds to what is already a strong track. I especially liked the nice bass towards the beginning, and the track is just lyrically catchy and rockable to; it shows off the punkternative/rock sense of the band as a whole—upbeat enough for pop, clever enough for alternative rock, and fast/hard enough for light punk.
        Another track that sticks out to me is "Music and Spirits". Dope opening, instrumentally compelling—really nice, unusual stuff. My attention is really held by the violin and horn. Do I detect some jazz influence? And also, it shows off the band's vocal mastery quite favorably (speaking of which, check out "Canned Laughter" for more display of nice vocals). Also, it is, again, very lyrically catching. "I can fight that feeling when it runs through my bones. It's you that's in my memory, the sword in my stone." While
Still Life may not be consistent in its lyrical quality, there are some really poetically-worded sentiments, and it makes "Music and Spirits" a gem of a track.
        So while I wouldn't put
Still Life on my top-ten list, album-wise, I am by no means trying to take the mickey from Strike.Fire.Fall. They have in no way lost their touch; they have held my attention and piqued my interest admirably, and although it's not exactly a break-out album, it still showcases a fine band. They've got a lot of music available for preview—I wouldn't quite recommend getting the album, but check them out. You may decide there are enough songs you like to buy it after all, in which case, good for you—if not, keep an eye on Strike.Fire.Fall anyway. They do cool things, and it's always fun to see how that develops.
...
A.F. '06