Swansea alt-rock quartet Static Fires have come up with a truly likeable debut album on ‘Thirteen’. Boasting eight precision cuts of riff-heavy rock, with a good sense of groove and earworm choruses. The South Wales boys have embraced their influences, yet managed to find a signature sound that gives them a distinct identity in a heavily crowded market.
Despite the clean, post-grunge vibe of ‘Rollercoaster’ not really setting the world on fire, it is still a well-constructed opener with some cool guitar work that segues nicely into the cool bass groove of ‘Black Velvet’. Now here’s a tune, with its low slung intensity, killer chorus and smoking solo it ticks all the right boxes and has a great hard rock vibe.
In fact, the overall vibe is one of assured quality, with an air of grungy hard rock between the lines. ‘Blood Red’, for instance, makes for a great showcase; powered by a badass riff, it drips menace before taking an atmospheric turn that kicks into a frantic heavy rocking finale, great stuff. The driving ‘Hit the Gas’, ‘Thirteen’, with its quirky riff and catchy chorus, and emotive rocker ‘Return’ are equally well delivered and tap into a similar vein.
Nevertheless, it’s not all about riffs and hooks; the upbeat rhythms and bright guitar lines of “Like the Sun” have more of an indie feel, while closer ‘Fix Myself’ has a lazy summer groove going on. Even so, both tunes work well within the context of the album, adding a little variety and showing their versatility.
As a whole, this is a damn fine record from Static Fires; the songwriting is intelligent, it’s got commercial appeal while retaining the band’s identity and has great performances throughout. Excellent work.
‘Thirteen’ by Static Fires is out now.
Words by Edward Layland (@EdwardLayland)