10 Paces, Fire - Lakes Refract & Lakes Reflect
Record Label: Lower Peninsula Records
Release Date: December 5, 2011
With song titles like “Party Hats at 2 O’clock” and “You Used to be Mel Clark”, you might be tempted to dismiss the self-proclaimed progressive indie rock band 10 Paces, Fire as just another stupid emo group with overly long song titles, but you’d be making a huge mistake seeing as there is an undeniable energy and pace to their songs. The vocals are delivered in a way reminiscent of Geoff Rickley (Thursday) or Eric Frederic (Facing New York) in that they’re very emotionally charged and not at all computerized or artificial. Instrumentally, Andy Wambach’s vocals are backed by lush guitars (almost bringing to mind the highly melodic guitar parts found on American Football’s album) and pounding drums, both of which alternate between soothing, relaxing sections to more aggressive, louder parts. In this way, 10 Paces, Fire are very similar to other indie rock bands like Manchester Orchestra.
On their Bandcamp webpage, this release is described as: “A more natural and live approach to recording than 10 Paces, Fire’s previous album”, something which is clearly evident throughout. Opening track “Senza Nome” is exactly what you’d expect as an intro from this kind of band in that it’s entirely instrumental and very ambient, nicely setting the scene for the rest of the songs. Undoubtedly, the highlights of the album are “62” and “Wahl & Boates”, both songs where the band captures their formula to brilliant effect. “62” features a pulsing guitar part right from the beginning and some marvellous percussion going on in the background, all while Wambach sings “I wish I was from England so whenever I sing it sounds perfect.”
Melodic guitars, which at this point should now be familiar to the listener, are used to full effect in “Wahl & Boates”, a song where the band uses gang vocals towards the climax of the song to make for an excellent finale for the album. Gang vocals are also utilized on “Birdz” another song where the guitarists really shine. Todd Johnson and Andy Wambach really must be congratulated for the more than stellar guitar work they’ve contributed to this release. The 90s emo influence and the indie rock vibe are felt throughout the record in both the guitars and the vocals.
While this is most definitely a very solid release, there is still room for growth. The songs certainly take a long while to grow on you, so long that some people may lose patience and not bother to invest in the band any further. On first listen, none of the melodies stood out, only on subsequent listens did I begin to notice the various hooks on offer here. This set of songs definitely won’t appeal to music fans that prefer their tunes to be more pop than rock. This band can’t yet hold their own against the likes of Brand New or Manchester Orchestra, but perhaps in a couple of years, they’ll put out their very own Deja Entendu or Mean Everything To Nothing.