[sic] Magazine

Should – Like A Fire Without Sound

Should are Austin duo Marc Ostermeier and Tanya Maus . A bell rang in my head when I saw the name Ostermeier. I think maybe he is the proprietor of Words On Music? Well if you’re a musician and you’ve got a label, it seems the obvious thing to do to put your own music out. And why not? There have been plenty of examples through the years and many have been very worthwhile releases.

Sounds like someone has had a good rummage through their Galaxie 500 records. I have no problem here either. Good taste will never be a precursor to lost marks at [sic] Mag. Not on my watch. Like a Fire Without Sound is a collection of nine fuzzy, laid back, 60’s drenched garage songs – boy/girl harmonies and twee melodies, the kind of thing the Swedes excel at ( The Legends , Peter Bjorn and John etc)

The album title suggests some kind of burning intensity that can’t be heard. Initial tracks reveal the aptness of this. It’s all rather tentative at the onset. Is it unfair to say the album takes three to four songs before it really hits its stride? The main reason is a lack of tempo. It’s all lazy, languid, fuzziness. I was particularly surprised with the sequencing of the record. Following ‘Turned Tables’ with ‘Slumbering’ seemed especially bizarre given that the latter’s intro contains the same riff as its predecessor. Should are clearly proud of ‘Turned Tables’, as witnessed by the sparkly fanfare at the tracks beginning. (Video below) But the impact is lost somewhat by its positioning.

Things start to turn around with ‘Just Not Today’, a track that looks fondly back to the early days of Creation, Sarah Records, C86 or even Postcard. This is a great track on many levels. Individually, it’s a lovely listen, but as part of a collective whole, it single-handedly manages to rescue the album. From thereon in ‘Like A Fire Without Sound’ works, it starts to breathe and comes to life.

Galaxie 500 famously covered New Order’s Ceremony . I thought Should were going in a similar direction by re-imagining Shadowplay . However, ‘Broken’ turns out to be Should’s own work. Another song that echoes an older classic is closing track ‘The Great Pretend’ which however improbably sounds very similar to ‘Let The Sunshine In’ from 70’s musical, Hair .

If only the record’s opening half matched the quality of the rest. We might have been talking about a must-buy. As it is, we still have a very valuable project by a very talented stable. I’d liken it most to Alan McGee’s own Biff Bang Pow which may have only made the smallest of ripples in music’s great history but gave me a good deal of pleasure personally.



Should – “Turned Tables” from Should on Vimeo.