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Taking their name from the Hudson River sloops that repelled the British warships before the Battle of Brooklyn – using fire and water to fight darkness with light – Brooklyn-based Fireships makes guitar-driven alt-folk that’s dreamy and fiery, spontaneous and well-crafted. Forming in 2013, Fireships is the musical entity Andrew Vladeck created while living in the Hudson Valley last winter, when visiting musician friends colored in the songs he was writing. “I realized that songs themselves are fireships; built with passion and patience, cast into the shadows to brighten the way,” says Vladeck. As the band’s upcoming self-titled debut album covers ground, you’re hearing the journey the band can make, from a self-contained solo act to a collaborative clique of excellent musicians.
Fireships’ singer-songwriting is classic yet keenly modern, mixing choice folk-rock spanning decades and featuring finger-picked electric guitar of American Folk and West African influence, recalling Lou Reed, Paul Simon’s Graceland, and Deer Tick. Vladeck’s lyrics resonate with the depth and sophistication of the folk tradition; the sound is more contemporary – arrangements billow with bass and strident drums, triumphal organs and harmonies. Multi-instrumentalist Lauren Balthrop’s (Dear Georgiana) Emmylou-esque artistry blends with Andrew’s unvarnished delivery. Rhythm section team Chris Buckridge and Jason Lawrence fuse bass and drums, lending gravitas to songs like drunken astronaut fantasy “Countdown Time.” Dynamic violinist Hannah Thiem, the newest addition to the band, sustains and colors their sound.