In the ’00s, the Britpop invasion has seen a second coming, with artists like Kasabian, British Sea Power, The Kaiser Chefs, and Franz Ferdinand making headlines. Likewise, this Britpop movement has infiltrated American bands like Heavens and newcomers New London Fire, whose name has references to the Great London Fire of 1666, which began in a bakery on Pudding Lane and gutted the medieval city for three consecutive days. The New Jersey-based quintet New London Fire may hope to do similar damage, but one would hope only in the way of music, with their debut CD I Sing The Body Holographic, produced by the band and My Chemical Romance’s bass player, Mikey Way.
The album is ribbed by streaming synth-rock belts attached to new wave coated guitar fringes and stimulating rhythms. The melodic textures have a resemblance to Doves and make dark images appear fluffy, ethereally held, and optimistically brimmed like in the opening track “Different,” which lead singer David Debiak comments on the band’s website is “about a guy who falls in love with a prostitute and wants to love her but she won’t change.” The racks of synth waves composed by David’s brother Jason Debiak are uplifting with a trampoline effect like The Postal Service and reflective of ’80s new wavers Bronski Beat and Erasure.
New London Fire continues to color dark emotions with glitter and spark, like in the track “To Breathe” which David describes is “about a serial killer who kills prostitutes.” The music for the track leads the listener into prismatic trance-scapes with vibrating guitar channels by Jon Lam, kneading bass lines by Eric Wills, and melodic drum clusters by Nima Shirazi. The dynamic chord changes give power to the leaps in the movements. The female vocal harmonies curling around David’s vocals on “Someone Like You” are exquisitely versed along sinewy punk steps and melodic rock nodes. The synth patterns are an accelerant for the melodic traction on tracks like “When I Try,” “Tonight,” and “Happy Now.”
New London Fire also dips into balladry with “Nadine” and the acoustic “Someone In Between.” Both are mellow and softly spliced, while “We Don’t Bleed” is epic and features surges of guitar sparks. New London Fire’s music gives darkness a pleasant feel. The music is moving and penetrates the senses ethereally. It takes the best of Britpop and acoustic rock and weaves them into a melodic mixture that transcends both.