Firebug are Juliette Tworsey (vocals), Jules Shapiro (guitars), Dale Bryan (bass) and Christopher McGuire (drums).
Due to the massive international success of the Grammy Award winning duo “The Black Keys”, the southern comfort sound that was very much perfected by Skynard in the 70’s and is undeniably championed today by the great Drive By Truckers is back in the forefront of popular music.
This reinvention, although painfully needed in today’s abhorrent excuse of a music industry, does run the risk of going stale due to mediocre efforts by copy cats jumping on the band wagon. One band that refuses to be snared in this trap is the Los Angeles “based” band Firebug.
Firebug are definitely not a sedentary entity. Primarily based in the historical Wicker Park Chicago as a duo, Juliette and Jule’s hunger and determination pulled them west to la-la land where they completed their lineup by recruiting Jeff and Ty. Nowadays the band spend most of their time in the prominent centre of music, New Orleans.
The band’s latest offering “Used to Be” is a sneak peek track from their 2012 forthcoming album and has an element that even the “Keys” are lacking. This essential feature is their ability to “shake it up” literally and figuratively. They do not disappoint in serving up the familiar but with an edge. The opening riff is blissfully crunchy and when the rhythm section kicks in accompanied by a second guitar that thrashes out an almighty growl it is evident that this is not your average characterless revival band. The track has a pounding 2/4 time signature but adds an extra skip to throw the listener. This conjures up some interesting features and makes the track delightfully complicated.
2012 saw the european release of their critically acclaimed album “Season for Change”. Originally released in 2008 in the US, the album is bold and brilliant. Although the southern comfort is there , the album offers a lot more than just that. With elements of indie rock and blues with a psychedelic twist the album does not disappoint. Probably the biggest highlight of the album is the opening track Paradise. So good that even Film and Television have enlisted its services. The track appeared on Fox’s Speed TV segment for 24 hours of LeMans (2009).
The music is beautifully played however the focal point of the album is Juliette’s vocals. It is interesting that the band originated from Wicker Park where historically there is a huge community of German and Scandinavian habitants. There is a fundamental part of Juliette’s voice that is Eastern European similar to that of Tori Amos and Patti Smith.
Firebug are definitely a band that have paid their dues and are destined for bigger and better things. It’s just a matter of time.
Season for Change 4 tin foil hats out of 5.
by Stuart Ireland
Firebug can be found on many of our shows. Here are just a few of the latest outings of this fantastic band.