# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Tall Firs - Too Old to Die Young

  by Chris O'Toole

published: 19 / 4 / 2008

Tall Firs - Too Old to Die Young
Label: Ecstatic Peace
Format: CD


Thoughtful and excellent second album from much acclaimed Maryland psychedelic folk duo Tall Firs, which like its predecessor has been released on Sonic Youth's Thurstone Moore's Ecstatic Peace label

For a friendship that has been in existence for nearly two decades, the work rate of the Tall Firs can be described as lax. This is only the second album from the group, and can claim to have been in the making for six years. Some of the songs date to the turn of the millennium, and have been gestating in the minds since this time. Indeed the biography of the band is almost as enthralling as their present recording. After meeting at school in Annapolis, Maryland, the group’s core duo of Dave Miles and Aaron Mullen flirted with the idea of forming a full time band for over sixteen years before the eponymous Tall Firs released was issued in 2006. At this time the band recruited Ryan Sawyer, who had previous been involved with At the Drive-in, to produce the record in Sonic Youth’s rehearsal space. Lavish attention and praise were the result, and a follow-up begun. Now, still signed to Thurston Moore’s Ecstatic Peace label, the group return with their second full-length recording. The record is a collection of quiet monuments and reflection, filled with warmth and morning sunshine. The group use music as a catharsis to fight against the gathering gloom, allowing themselves to be enveloped by the sickness before allowing it to mutate and releasing it as a cure; a wonderful drug with which to fight against the modern world. Opener 'So Messed Up' is a shimmering tower in the clouds atop a great mountain an age ago; its beauty and splendour only becoming apparent on the closer inspection of repeated listen. The duo of Miles and Mullen adorn the track with vocals as thin as air, unobtrusive and illusive, drawing a misty eyed audience desperate for answers. Yet, none are forthcoming. There are elements of Explosions in the Sky and the more languid jams of mentor’s Sonic Youth, but these are only fleeting. The Tall Firs sound is more natural, drawing from the heritage of the land as much as any existing band. It’s a polished song for a love that only ever existed in the minds of the believers. 'Too Old to Die Young' is a beautiful travelling companion, with the following 'Blue in the Dark' dulling the hysteria of the day into a background hubbub and allowing the listener to drift away into the forests of imagination. Although the songs rarely stray over the five minute mark, each is a tiny epic, swelling and gathering at a glacial pace. It is crafted and nuanced – with the ‘Firs in total control of their direction and tempo at all times - honing their sound to instil contemplation and relaxation in the hearts of all who listen. Love songs where the heroine dies. Great swells of emotion run through 'Hairdo' like tides through the sea. A propulsion flowing through the band as they struggle to translate the great depth of what they have seen into mortal words and melodies. 'Good Intentions' is a candlelit admission of failure in a noble purpose, lumbering along in the twilight before a great swath of guitar emerges from nowhere to jerk the victim from his lethargy. 'Closer Secrets and Lies' - a duet with the Jealous Girlfriends' Holly Miranda – allows Miles to bare his soul for all who care to look. It brings experimentation to confession and serves both well – with a free flowing affirmation wrapped and presented to the world as a secret and enigmatic gift. 'Too Old to Die Young' is a beautiful and beguiling album. Filled with the moments of clarity which are all too fleeting and ever decreasing. It rewards close attention and, although austere in nature, is edifying, enlightening and intimate.

Track Listing:-
1 So Messed Up
2 Blue In the Dark
3 Hairdo
4 Good Intentions
5 Warriors
6 Lookout
7 Loveless
8 Hippies
9 Secrets & Lies

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