Firewater - Psychopharmacology
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Firewater
Psychopharmacology

On their third album, Firewater continues to be one of those bands who manage to mix absolutely dour lyrical content with a surprisingly upbeat mixture of songs. It's like the saying that tragedy plus distance equals comedy, and although these fellows aren't exactly laughing, they've definitely got a dark smirk on their faces. It's a testament to the group that they can still make you want to sing along and tap your foot to songs about airplanes going down and being addicted to prescription medicine.

Then again, a wicked sense of humour has always been sort of the penchant of the group, whether it was their dark debut entry Get Off The Cross, We Need Wood For The Fire or their follow-up of The Ponzi Scheme. With music that takes rock and mixes in plenty of other elements to keep things exciting, the group range between dark noir sounds to damn near radio friendly pop-rock (although I doubt that songs about suicide will fend off the spate of boy and girl bands).

The album leaps into action with some maraca-shakes and keyboard stabs on "Woke Up Down," a song that would become an anthem if enough people who had simply been worn down by the system heard it. The follow-up track is the album-titled "Psychopharmacology" and once again the instrumentation and vocals are strangely catchy as singer Tod A croons about the seeming dependence on prescription medicine to get through the day.

Although thematically the songs don't get a whole lot happier, the instrumentation and pacing of the album change up enough to keep the listener on their toes. A sitar is added to give sort of a dreamy feel to the contemplative "Fell Off The Face Of The Earth" while horn blasts help to punctuate the choruse of "Car Crash Collaborator." The slinky-sounding "Bad, Bad Boy" even finds Jennifer Charles of the Elysian Fields adding her breathy vocals to the track for a great change of pace and probably the closest thing to a ballad that the group has done. "The Man With The Blurry Face" even works the lyrics (and commonly heard post-crime statement) of "he seemed like the quiet type" into a semi-swing sounding rock track for a sing-along chorus.

Basically, if you've heard the group before and enjoyed them, you're definitely not going to go wrong with this release. They know to keep things short and snappy (the best way to lodge things in your head), and the 10 tracks on the release clock in almost exactly at 40 minutes. While the music is even more seemingly happy this time around, the content of the disc is still made for those people who have a sense of humor that is slightly on the wicked side. None of the tracks are downright mean, but once again the group isn't afraid at pointing the finger and poking at spots that are a bit tender.

rating: 7.2510
Aaron Coleman 2003-06-19 00:00:00