The Ponzi Scheme
Todd A. is well on his way to shaking off the “last angry man” tag he wore to such stunning effect in Cop Shoot Cop, slipping into the slinkier and darker lounge-wear of Firewater. I’ll drop the words “film noir” with a wink, point to a Nick Cave poster (with Kid Congo Powers in the background) knowingly, and hold up a Tom Waits record like a flashcard. Get it? The influences are only part of the picture, this outfit (including some Motherhead Bug types) is more than the sum of its members or reference points. Firewater operates on a much grander scale than other similarly inclined dark-rock musos. The Ponzi Scheme presents the listener with an interesting array of musical styles: barroom sing-a-longs, gospel, cabaret, satanic lounge, full-on rock, and sheer musical drama. Yet all of the songs and sounds within The Ponzi Scheme fit together thematically, rather than collapsing under the weight of misguided eclecticism. If this isn’t a concept album, it certainly has the intricate packaging of one. Firewater is becoming an increasingly anarchic artistic entity, and their recent jaw-dropping-keyboard-player-running-free-in-the-audience performance at the Cow Haus convinced me. If sales of this record finance their tours, I’ll buy three, and I suggest you do the same.