Fire Engines – Hungry Beat (Acute Records)


Hungry Beat compiles these Scots’ entire output – just three singles and a mini-lp released in the early-’80s. They were largely forgotten until a few years ago when Franz Ferdinand started mentioning them as an influence, which led to a CD of rarities/demos/radio sessions on Domino Records, reunion shows, and a split 7″ with their famous post-punk offspring. Fire Engines were a much different musical animal though. Although both play danceable post-punk the Fire Engines were far more experimental and angular, owing just as much to No Wave and The Pop Group as the trebly intertwined guitars of Television and The Velvet  Underground. Their tendency towards dissonance can be abrasive (“Get Up and Use Me”), and there’s way too many instrumentals, but when they find a strong melody (“Candy Skin” and “Big Gold Dream”) the results are excellent.