Monday, August 21, 2006

Firma - Manifold CD Review

Coffee shops have certain special types of musicians that like to play in that environment's type of intimate, laid back, no-frills atmosphere. More often than not it’s young and barely talented singer/songwriters doing their best Ben Harper or Dave Matthews impression, but on occasion you’ll find a band that so naturally fits the coffee shop venue that you can’t imagine anyone else playing in the background while you sip your latte and socialize with friends. Today's coffee shop band du jour is Firma.

Playing a partially electric, partially acoustic brand of indie rock, the young men in Firma have put together a debut EP that successfully straddles the line between crossing over from being laid back to just plain boring. What does it for this band is the smart and interesting interplay between the two guitarists. Taking center stage over the rest of the band, Mathieu Rodrigue and Stephen Tierney create a dialogue between their guitars, one speaking in light electric tones while the other whispers back with an acoustic voice that fills any empty spaces there may be.

Besides the usual indie rock influences that can be heard within just about any modern indie band’s playing, there are slight hints of other, more diverse, influences touching Firma’s songs. On the opening track, “The Pirate”, there is a distinct nod, intentional or not, to Days of the New and their unique style of play. While on “Nightmares” you hear a stronger, firmer sound with a Circa Survive molded musical attack.

Within the confines of these five songs from the band's self released EP, Firma have put forth a strong offering into the modern indie rock world. There are a few rough edges, such as the sometimes unfocused vocals, but for a debut effort, you couldn’t ask for much more.

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