The face of the outfit known as Firewater is the multi-talented Tod A. He’s combined his first musical true love (punk rock) with his obsession of Eastern European instrumentals. This artist has formulated a one-of-a-kind brew with straight-forward lyrics and addicting beats. International Orange! is deliciously comical yet annoying. “Dead Man’s Boots” is a song that had to be created to be intentionally funny, but seems to have a deeper underlying message. Whether or not that message is discernible is another question entirely.

There’s an array of specific instruments utilized on International Orange! The list includes the darbuka, a goblet drum, a daf, a percussion piece similar to the tambourine, and a tef, a Turkish percussion instrument. Utterly irritating at times, this genre that the band seems to have fleshed themselves sounds like The Pink Panther theme song interrupted by obscure European instrument solos. Tod not only sings on the album, but plays electric guitar, bongos, and more. “The Monkey Song” is an upbeat number that begins with an intro explaining how once you hear this song, you’ll want to hear it many times more. Recording of monkeys in the wild are incorporated into the audio here and while they may be suiting, it did not make me want to listen to this track ever again.

The sixth track, “Ex-Millionaire Mambo” is Latin-inspired musically and resonates in your head perfectly as the soundtrack to a night of too much tequila. “Tropical Depression” heads more in the direction of punk rock but does not allow for any more room on this record to be salvaged. The album’s closing song, “The Bonney Anne,” is a slow-moving song that might actually pass for normal, but after listening, the deal is sealed and there is not too much that is redeeming about International Orange! Clearly, Firewater does not want to be understood or accepted, which is respectable, but the listener cannot help but wonder to whom and where was this album directed?

In A Word: Baffling

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3 Responses

  1. Alessandra Rafferty

    What’s baffling is this review: the reviewer didn’t like the music because it wasn’t “normal”? What is normal music? Anyone whose concept of world music is that it sounds like “the Pink Panther theme” is clearly not going to “understand” this record, but they also shouldn’t subject us to such an ill-informed review. Give us facts, context, and knowledge. Listeners should know this is in fact an amazing record, a truly unique mashup of western rock and eastern folk traditions in an incredibly accessible format. If you want to read a qualified, thoughtful review on this band check out the Wall St Journal.

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  2. Curtis Flowers

    Agree with Alessandra. The negative reviews I’ve read (2 so far) seem to come from people with no context of what this band is or what they are trying to do. There’s no reference to past albums which leads me to believe that they were handed this record and told to go review it. Not your cup of tea? So be it. I love this record as much as their others.

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