The Theater Fire - Matter and Light


Doing things quickly can be fun, but taking things slow is often more rewarding. Eating, for example. Wolfing your food down will satisfy your hunger quickly, which is fine if you’re chomping into some fast food burger nonsense – the less you taste of those the better – but if you’re out for a posh meal or round at some friend’s house and they’ve spent hours slaving away making something special, you should really sit back, relax and take your time with it. Enjoy your food. Savour it. Make the most out of it.


Drinking’s the same. Drink a bunch of tequila slammers in a row and you’ll get a mega rush, get pissed extremely quickly, feel great for about five minutes and then be an absolute waste of space for the rest of the night if you don’t end up face down behind a bush puking your lungs up. It’s often much nicer to drink a few pints, over a few hours, get merrily drunk, have a good laugh, finish the night off with a brandy or single malt and then stop off for a curry on the way home. Much more entertaining. Much more rewarding and probably more memorable as well. Enjoy your drink. Savour it. Make the most of it.


Listening to music can be the same too. Ok, if you’re preparing to go out on the lash on a Friday night then you’ll want something upbeat, spiky and probably very instantaneous and shallow to get you in the right frame of mind, but when you’ve got a few hours to spare and you just want to relax, take it easy and lose yourself in something, then you need to listen to something with a bit of substance as well as style. That’s not to say you want something studious and clever, clever but something that has a bit of a smile on its face too. After all, you’re looking to make time pass a bit more comfortably here. So, for example, if you’re making the dinner, or doing the dusting, then you want to forget about the chore itself and make it quite entertainging to prance around the house with a feather duster in your hand. Enter The Theater Fire and their album Matter and Light.


Things don’t start off well, but bear with it. The overblown and pompous Beatrice (Dirge) is an instrumental bit of forgetfulness that makes you think the band are going to go a bit Arcade Fire like and take themselves way too seriously, but thankfully that gets itself out of the way very quickly and we’re suddenly presented with a poppy mix of indie and Americana that is an absolute joy to spend some time with. It’s All The Same is a mix of Great Escape era Blur and Calexico, which pretty much means it’s poptastic with brass bits. Uncle Wayne is the type of song Lambchop would write if they didn’t enjoy sounding so sad all the time and the album just takes off from there on in.


Beatrice comes back to spoil things slightly with an (Ode) and a (Coda) but thankfully they don’t de-rail this trip at all. After all, you get a track called The Testicle Song which is everything you think it isn’t and totally wonderful because of it and Swashbuckler Blues is so good it’s worth the price of admission alone. It’s a slice of Americana that is so laid back and wistful it feels like the soundtrack to a wonderful summer day by the river and contains lines as wonderful as I gave her all a man could give/That’s not too much/ But that’s the way it is. It’s all about a man wishing he was Errol Flynn (who hasn’t?) but realises he’s far too lazy and I’m sure most of us can relate to that. Matter and light is a delight of an album. A jewel worth looking for and one that will brighten up any day you decide to listen to it. Enjoy it. Savour it. Make the most of it. And don’t forget to chew properly.


Words : Damian Leslie