All the Saints | Fire on Corridor X
Most Likely To: make you pay attention to their next release.
All the Saints are covering some interesting terrain with Fire On Corridor X. FOCX could be a distant peak… you know, the one those wacky but reputable scientists say may erupt explosively sometime between tomorrow and 2167? From a distance, they have a solid foundation that isn’t moving anytime soon. Jim Crook’s drumming provides flair and fills, all the while complemented by Titus Brown’s dirty, overdriven bass. My Bloody Valentine-style walls of sound inhabit the record but the band also successfully mellows out, giving the audience emptier spaces to climb into, access an oxygen-deprived euphoria, and lose their sense of time. As your eyes flit from the base on upwards, the image begins to lose definition. Sinking clouds develop a gradient of gray to white, and Matt Lambert’s grinding, washy guitars fill the empty sky with psychedelic bodies that exhibit high ratios of depth to density. When the image transmitted via optical nerve/aural bones is nothing but a shiftless opaque, deductive logic assumes higher authority and we know what lies beyond…
Many of the instrumental tendencies are broken up by vocals that can occasionally shine like stars under dark, cloudy melodic monophony and are frequently bathed in delay and reverb. Unfortunately, the paths the melodies carve are sometimes unclear and hardly pique interest, nurturing a loss of direction within the misty drone, further led astray by vocal timbre (think MGMT). Thankfully, All the Saints always reconvene with a stronger hook later on. Fire On Corridor X absolutely improves the further along it gets and reaches higher ground in the latter half, perhaps an intentional technique to erase our earlier doubts.
Production and effect usage is where this record glows, not in pure quality, but in experimentation. It’s what gives All the Saints and Fire On Corridor X the sound that will echo in endless, soaky repetition until you play it again. The band defies conventional “hearing the reverb means you have too much” attitudes with a motion reminiscent of Spinal Tap… turn it up to 11! The drums are right up front, generally dry and sporadically distorted, becoming the aspect you listen to second to vocals. Guitars weave in with wails and some really powerful riffs only to back down again, content in the brief glow a panning spotlight brings. The bass is round and wide, and does a fantastic job of complimenting both rhythmic and harmonic outlets.
The acoustic tunes (“Leeds”, “Mil Mil”) are unique, the drums taking on a roomier quality while slightly detuned piano and more droning pads creep in and swim through the fog like a flock of dark birds. Without the smart and consistent use of effects and mix tricks, Fire On Corridor X could have ended up a dry and dull piece of tectonic evidence, documenting nothing other than what happened once. All the Saints are more than that. There is something big happening beneath the surface that maybe we haven’t quite discovered yet. Every now and then a little hiss escapes the airtight seal of modern recording techniques, but producer Ben H. Allen is also an emerging artist, and overall he does a great job of capturing the tumbling energy.
Most importantly, Fire On Corridor X sounds like an album, never straying too far from the direction it set off in, but further developing itself in the process. The more this album is rotated, the more those seeping sectionals will sink into the cracks in the crust. You’ll surely see All the Saints slowly gaining ground in the future. Fire On Corridor X may be ancillary to their live performances, where All the Saints’ calculated noise will be exhibited in it’s purest form.
Listen to “Fire on Corridor X” from All the Saints: