The Fireman Electric Arguments Review

Album. Released 2008.  

BBC Review

Reminds us again who was the adventurous one in the Moptops.

Chris Jones 2008

Ten years after Paul McCartney and Martin 'Youth' Glover (ex Killing Joke) released their last collaborative 'mystery disc' under the Fireman moniker (the dancey Rushes) they return. Any right-thinking musicologist may balk at the the wisdom of two bassists working together, but the pair's efforts have always borne interesting fruit. However, anyone expecting Electric Arguments to fit under the same 'experimental' or 'electronic' bracket as previous work may be surprised. Only Universal Here, Everlasting Now's collages are really mind-melting. Much like Eno and Byrne's recent reunion, this album defies expectations by featuring not only vocals and lyrics but, gasp, songs! In fact Electric Arguments is nothing less than a rather fine McCartney solo album, perhaps shoved out under the alias to show a certain label who's really boss. Whatever, it's a spry 13-track (and one hidden track) jaunt through styles a-plenty; from psychedelic folk to blues grit.

If there's any argument for calling this truly 'experimental' it's because the duo leave the endings rough as a badger's bottom and have a tendency to throw in some Mellotron, a touch of flanging to the voice, or play stuff...backwards. Wow. But this is Macca and he's on form, seemingly using the freedom of relative anonymity to stretch out, relax, turn on, tune in, drop out and make like a kid in a sonic sandbox, mixing it up and throwing some curveballs. Opener, Nothing Too Much Just Out Of Sight comes on like Zep meeting Beefheart, full of mealy-mouthed blues harp and Helter Skelter raging. Light From Your Lighthouse comes direct from Dylan and the Band's rootsy basement and Lifelong Passion's raga and synth mix may well be Paul's tribute to George Harrison.

Not everything convinces. Is This Love? meanders dangerously like a b-side. Sun Is Shining drones with bucolic good-naturedness but goes nowhere: Paul gets up sees the sun shining down etc etc. Lovers In A Dream ("...warmer than the sun" repeated over a trance burble) falls down a somewhat featureless hole between early Primal Scream and the Orb, while Dance 'Til We're High misses being Paul Oakenfold and instead ends up like Phil Spector.

No matter, this is a rather tasty little album that reminds us again who was the adventurous one in the Moptops. Thumbs aloft, indeed.

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