Washington DC’s Time is Fire barrels into the future on their new album “In Pieces,” a blistering mix of rhythm, noise, and protest.
The band’s debut full-length release (out on Electric Cowbell/Insect Fields) captures the quintet's signature sound, which has been described as “Sufi punk,” “weird world,” and “dance punk.” Produced and recorded by Brendan Canty (Rites of Spring, Fugazi, Messthetics), the album’s nine tracks build on Time Is Fire’s energetic live shows, which have garnered praise from critics at NPR, the Washington Post and Washington City Paper.
Beneath the record’s polyrhythmic beats and psychedelia is a potent feeling of resistance against authoritarian forces on the rise across the globe, from Tehran to DC.
“Our mission as a band is to snap people out of their fear,” says Kamyar Arsani, the band’s Iranian-born vocalist and lyricist. “The dance element is there to get people out of their seats and moving. And then the lyrics point toward new ways of thinking, feeling and changing our world.”
The band drives that approach home on their new single “We Declare,” a throbbing slice of dance-punk and dueling guitars over which Arsani relates firsthand accounts of police brutality and gun violence.
Born in Tehran, Arsani grew up studying classical Persian music while listening to Western rock, which, as he told the Washington Post, “had the same protest energy that I heard on the streets.”
Arsani left Iran during the country's thwarted Green Revolution, settling in DC, where a spontaneous jam session sparked a new collaboration with guitarist Matt Perrone and drummer Jim Thomson (GWAR, Alter Natives, Bio Ritmo). The band’s lineup now features the guitar pyrotechnics of Jeff Barsky (Insect Factory, Mock Identity) and bassist Kai Filipczak. Their collective, improvisational songwriting draws from several lifetimes of playing across punk, experimental, and dance music.
The band’s “roots-to-the-future” approach comes to the fore on “River” a churning dub-noise track. The song’s hallucinatory coda adds guest artist Arsen Sumbatyan, a master of the duduk-- an ancient Armenian wind instrument.
The album’s closing track “Impossible Nights” features the haunting vocals of Christina Marie, chanteuse for the Turkish dream-pop band Yeni Nostalji. The song’s final chorus “Divane shanidam man” -- translated from Farsi as roughly “they call you crazy”-- is the band’s message of solidarity to the world’s misfits, outcasts, rebels and revolutionaries and all those who dream of a better, brighter, weirder tomorrow.
released February 28, 2020
Kamyar Arsani - vocals, daf
Kai Filipczak - bass
Matthew Perrone - guitar
Jeff Barsky - guitar
Jim Thomson - drums, percussion
Electric Cowbell is a Washington, DC based record label specializing in boutique vinyl releases. Operating under the moniker
Multiflora Productions, it is also a multi-faceted agency that specializes in expanding the reach of genre-bending roots-to-the-future music through artist management, event marketing, and music releases. For more records visit our website....more
Hell Yeah! Get onboard the Messthetics train. This is real deal, clocking in at just over 37 minutes. That alone should constitute recommendation enough. I am a huge fan of albums that clock in at around 40 min or under. Ramones and Bowie did it, so why not? The Messthetics latest is a great slab of at-inflected guitar rock, driven by the great bottom end unit of Joe Lally and Brendan Canty. This is a very tight unit, probably best experienced live. Play loud! Brendan Long
I am very happy to have discovered that hardcore can still be a genre of distinction and importance in 2020.
-erin margaret day
Comeawaywithemd.com (coming soon) Ecstatic M.D.