Review: Firefox AK – Color the Trees

The low-quality cover-art. The forgettable, far-too-ordinary lead-off single, “Boom Boom Boom”. The signs were not good for the new album by Andrea Kellerman, AKA Firefox AK. And even at first listen there was a lot of low-energy, seemingly forgettable songs, and yet. And yet. One gets seduced by the sheer loveliness of this collection. Upon repeated listens the clever melodies shine through. The dips and soars start to punch a little bit. The lyrics start to touch the listener. It sneaks up on you but once one gets past the touch of samey-sameness to some of the tracks, one realizes that this album is genuinely, surprisingly, terrific.

We’ve long been fans of Ms. Kellerman and yet if we had one complaint it’s that she’s struggled sometimes to keep up the requisite momentum throughout an entire album. With Color the Trees, she has succeeded in spades. Instead of obsessing that the songs sound too similar one can step back and see that they are linked by a thematic palette, that she is telling a story through sound, and it becomes quite evocative. The lyrics of “My Sister and I” bleed so naturally into the music that she has created a sound that makes you feel the way the lyrics might have on their own, written as poetry. That’s awfully difficult to do. To so successfully match tone, lyrics and sound, is usually reserved for the likes of Trent Reznor or early Depeche Mode. To hear it here is a delightful epiphany.

It  grows by leaps and bounds with each successive listen and eventually settles into a highly satisfying buzz. What seems embarrassingly simple starts to reveal the clever synth streams that lie just beneath the main track. Listen to the lovely title track, a fairly straightforward synth-pop song with a pleasant melody. But there’s also some neat drum tracking, beautiful synth washes, and plinky keyboard notes trilling around the outer edges of the song. It’s an initially sad song with an uplifting melody that matches a hopeful lyrical thesis (once again, matching the tone throughout). There’s a lot going on here that you might not first realize. One of the bigger surprises of the year and a pleasant one at that.

 

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2 Responses to “Review: Firefox AK – Color the Trees”

  1. Good review, thanks.

    Check also the album Nomme by Swedish singer songwriter Emmon. I think you will like that album.

  2. Oh, that’s good. I’d stuck with “Boom Boom Boom” long enough for it to grow on me, but then I’d forgotten about the new album entirely. I’ve got it now and am looking forward to wearing it plumb out.

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