Fir Cone Children is Alex Donat's project to make album for or celebrating or inspired by his children and he's put out an album every year since 2015. This time the lyrics are often about what it's like to be a kid living through this pandemic and not understanding what's going on and how the kid's lives have changed like all our lives have changed in ways we couldn't have anticipated. For this album that band are now breaking the usual rule to keep all songs under 2 minutes so for anyone who's already a fan this will seem more expansive.
The album opens with Panic In The Mansion a bright bouncy slice of intelligent indie-pop with a slight goth edge to it that gets more claustrophobic as it goes on and the panic sets in.
Soaking In features guest vocals from Krissy Vanderwoode and is a dreamy and angular indie tune that asks you to soak it all in and let's face it that's generally good advice to allow everything a bit of space, in places it reminds me of Torch Song's I think Zebra Room.
Fold It! Had the sort of insistent beat that is perfect for folding the washing too, now make sure it's in neat plies now. This also has some dense and quite wacky noises going on a quite bemusing and cool song that includes the instructions on how to fold a paper plane in the lyrics.
Entangled reminds me a good bit of 90's indie chancers Campag Velocet in it's structure and the glistening guitar lines that accentuate the vocals, although this thankfully doesn't swagger around like it's god's gift to the world.
Gekko-19 is the second song featuring Krissy Vanderwoude and it's interesting to hear Covid described as a Gecko as it seems to be a way to explain this most perplexing of virus to Children who can't quite comprehend what the current restrictions are, what they are meant to be afraid of, it isn't the chiming guitars that are central to this song, as they sing we are the virus.
Everyday is A Flood is a doomy dark rush of water deluging you in a sound that is sort of a bit Moodists but not quite it's got quite a dark tinge to it that's cut through with upbeat sounding vocals.
When This Is Over feels like you are in the heart of the storm looking for a way forward or out to somewhere calmer and more sane than where we are and hopefully the kids will understand that things will get better eventually as the all-enveloping guitars wrap them in distorted noise.
Max & Hax are cartoon characters invented by Alex's kids and this is their adventures set to music, or the theme song to the series if it were to happen. It's certainly going to make an interesting and out there cartoon that's good and wonky with a piano part stolen from I'm Waiting For The Man.
Future Pirates is the indie-rock variety rather than the Pirate metal kind and this has a day-glo punk feel to it, like they are pogoing across the seas into battle.
Furball Sun is a good cartoon image and an insistent beat that's a bit like The Hobbes Fanclub sort of space rock for kiddies cartoons.
A Tiny Crack in the space time continuum of claustrophobic guitars with dreamy vocals laid over the top as a tambourine gets thrown around the room.
The album closes with the wonky pop explosion that is Waterslide At 7am about going to a Waterpark at that time with his kids to record an ad for a waterpark transposed into a song about the things you dream of being able to do in lockdown.
Find out more at www.blackjackilluministrecords.bandcamp.com https://www.facebook.com/FirConeChildren