Like A Fire opens with “A Heart To Call Home”, a ballad that features some lovely orchestral backing behind vocals about longing for love. First single “You & I” is next, which changes gears by kicking up the tempo while stripping down the sound. The acoustic does the musical talking in this one, and the subject matter celebrates a great romance – it really is a 180 from “A Heart To Call Home”. The drums also don’t really get going until the second chorus to great effect. Up next is “Warmer With You”, which has great guitar that puts long, possibly whammy bar-influenced notes to work. The drums also make great use of simplicity with the verses interjecting lazy snare rolls. The line “I don’t care how cold it is outside/I can see your breath curling up with mine” is awesome, and the EP’s title gets a mention during this song too.
Speaking of the EP’s title, the second half of Like A Fire first dishes out “Sleeping Lullaby”. The chorus’ off-time snare hits remind me of “Companion (Lay Me Down)” by Wide Mouth Mason – good stuff. “Sleeping Lullaby” is also the first real guitar distortion we get on the EP, which is also good stuff. “Author Of My Hope” follows, and really works the bass piano notes (notably, I mean…it’s pretty piano-centric anyway) while bringing the orchestral touch back. It’s 2:38 of YOU being behind you with analogies galore, but the weight of it makes its length surprising. Finally, a piano-based version of “Sleeping Lullaby” ends the effort. It largely honours the main version, but adds an element of evocativeness to also make it its own.
For Like A Fire, Tim Stead talked about wanting to create “something important, something that people feel like singing and believing”. It’s lyrically upbeat, hopeful and passionate, and very pleasing musically. You get the feeling of Dashboard Confessional, Evan Taylor Jones, The Fray and others coming together in an unabashed pop-driven (scenic) sound. Stead has a keen sense for songwriting, and Like A Fire is a strong second release. It’s out now via iTunes and beyond (where you can also listen to a brand new remix of “Warmer With You”). Go get it.
The Scenic Sound online: