In Case Of Fire

Align The Planets

Written by: AP on 21/07/2009 14:24:31

In Case Of Fire are one of the more exciting new additions to the soaring rock scene in the United Kingdom, and although the Northern Irish trio's debut album Align The Planets has been a long time in the making (originally recorded in 2007, then re-recorded last spring at the request of the band's label), any grievances we may have had because of the long wait are brushed aside by the uncompromising quality of the music - both in terms of production and writing.

Musically the band's territory is difficult to map, drawing as much influence from stoner rock as from the grandiose progressive compositions of their idols in Muse, but one (rather unknown) name rings in my mind, listening to this stuff: terminal. Clearly the two bands will not have had interplay, but the similarity between album opener This Time We Stand and terminal's Run And Make It Fast for example is impeccable. However, where terminal tried to unashamedly mimic Matthew Bellamy's characteristic voice, the vocal delivery here is far more restrained and personal. One just wishes Steven Robinson here would introduce some variety to the howling melancholy.

What's a debuting British rock band though without the overbearing praise by the country's alternative press. In this case the future of British rock is now apparently in the hands of In Case Of Fire (where have we heard that before?) and a quick run through a search engine will unveil smashing reviews all around. And indeed, this stuff is infinitely more interesting than most music that receives the same treatment over there, its formidable dynamism and its courage to be experimental when it needs to introducing much-needed artistry to a commercially driven genre.

Unfortunately it is here that the band also falls short of greatness. Because above all else, this album still sounds like a commercial piece. There isn't a real sense of exploration; instead, the twelve songs sound too calculated to make a lasting impression. Were it a pop punk record, this kind of straightforwardness could have been exploited by cluttering the songs with infectiously catchy choruses, but because In Case Of Fire are caught between progressive, experimental elements and a pop rock mentality, the album sounds like an identity crisis. Its most memorable moment comes mid-album with Enemies, during which you will find yourself shamelessly singing along to Why can't I just say / there will be a day / when everyone will hear the truth? / Never in this world / will we lose control of you, a politically charged lyric delivered with the greatest passion and conviction Steve has to offer, and Landslides with its alarming urgency, albeit some run-of-the-mill heartbreak lyrics about loss and whatnot.

However, these remain the sole two highlights on the album (though the aforementioned opener would actually sound intriguing too, were it not followed by an album's worth of almost identical tracks) and although the song-writing as such deserves no complaints, what Align The Planets lacks is variety. Consistently good though it may be, not to mention a fresh breath to a country used to recycling one sound, the album has a commercially viable appeal which tends to make them the antithesis of groundbreaking. Nonetheless a solid, enjoyable piece of music.


Download: This Time We Stand, Enemies, Landslides

For the fans of: Fightstar, Hundred Reasons, Muse

Listen: Myspace

Release date 11.05.2009

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