"Let's Build a Fire" CD
Genre: indie rock, indie pop
Ex-Versus James Baluyut has been running +/- for over
half a decade now, and they still don't get the respect they deserve.
Their last two albums, a self-titled debut and 2003's You Are Here, were terrific samplings of electronic-injected indie rock -
somewhere between Versus and Dismemberment Plan -and yet
their third has yet to come out in the USA, though Japanese label And
put it out last December. Apparently Japan has better taste than we
do, as this release is just another fine chapter in Baluyut's
The album starts off on a strong note with the monumental title
track, which begins with a White Town-esque jazz loop backing
an infectious vocal melody before dropping into a colossal rock song.
The slow-building tension in "Fadeout" harkens back to Versus
heavily, and "Steal the Blueprints" vehicles for a warm and terrific
melody. The next three tunes exemplify the band's more sensitive side,
before "One Day You'll Be There" plants great pop hooks in a
fiercely unconventional song structure.
Let's Build a Fire, which could easily take a few
best-of-year honours, is proof that Baluyut remains among the
most important of indie rock songwriters around today.
Fun Fact: This album
has been out for months in Japan, but has yet to be released in North
[Vitals: 12 tracks, distributed by
the label, released 2006]