The Theater Fire
Matter And Light
If you turned a cellist loose in West Texas and asked her to form a band, you might end up with something like Theater Fire. They make a curious blend of old-fashioned rock twinged with some classical airs and leave an inexplicable aftertaste of English music hall. There seem to be seven musicians in the ensemble, plus some pick-up help on percussion. While “found” instruments are part of the fun, the backbone of Theater Fire lies in classical strings, drums and pedal steel. The lyrics sound like Texas, although at first listen you might not guess these guys prefer Shiner Bock. They respect the country traditions as well; there’s a great car crash song. The singer loses his girlfriend on a joy ride with another guy, but the line “The driver got a gear shift up his ass” will break you out of any lyrical stupor.
“Oh Beatrice (Ode)” might come from an early Tom Waits album with its choppy cello licks and sub-bass vocals. An even quirkier “Dahl Parts” brings us into a butcher shop with a vaguely Latin melody in the background. Someone hangs the singer up on the rack and makes him into sausage. That must be the secret ingredient in that Elgin, TX meat market. Spattered across the disc are some gentle instrumentals (“Say Yes,” “As To Mouth,” “Oh Beatrice (Coda)”), but sedate vocals with uniques stories are the standard on this unusually calming disc. This is chamber music with spurs and tumbleweeds. Very nice.
The Theater Fire: www.theaterfire.com