Fireroad - ‘Unplugged: Live At The Borderline’ (Self Released)

CD Reviews

Written by Johnny H   

Tuesday, 23 August 2016 04:00

By their own relentless ideals South Wales based rockers Fireroad have been a little quiet on the gigging front this past few months, so for those of us who have missed Rich, Matthew Gav and Evsy playing their hearts out ‘Unplugged: Live At The Borderline’ couldn’t have come sooner.

 

As the title suggests this is the band stripped (steady on girls) of their electric guitars playing their songs as nature (or main songwriter Rich’s bedroom) intended.

 

Consisting of nine songs in total, eight originals and a cover of Neil Young’s ‘’Rockin’ In The Free World’ ‘Unplugged: Live At The Borderline’ was recorded on the last night of the tour the band did last year with The Quireboys. The simple introduction of “Good Evening Ladies and Gentlemen, we are Fireroad, and this is called ‘I Got Sound” is all I need to hear to get the goosebumps going up on my arms as the semi-unofficial nature of this recording (it appears to have been audience recorded by Alex Cohen, who coincidently gets a credit for his troubles) perfectly captures what is like to see Fireroad in full flight.

 

Tracks from the band’s debut album like ‘Falling Down’ and ‘Before The Matinee’ sound gloriously ragged here and with Rich’s voice sounding like it has been toured the warmth and urgency he needs to use to create solidity in this stripped back environment once again has me comparing his vocal capabilities to one Dave Meniketti.

 

Of the newer tunes aired here ‘Minute’ is easily my favourite song by the band to date and I do hope this one will make it onto the band’s as yet untitled but soon to be released 10 track sophomore album as it is an absolute corker of a track.

 

Until that record is finally made available you can pick up your copy of ‘Unplugged: Live At The Borderline’ by clicking on the following link http://www.fireroadrock.com/#!merch/ccsc. Tell them Uber Rock sent you!

 

S.A.Realm - Review 2014

Debut albums don't come along like this very often. Rock at its best, in your face but with a few subtleties thrown in.
I Got Sound is a full on balls out old fashioned rock album, great guitar driven classic rock but with a very contemporary edge. Their bio says, Great Band, great songs, great fun, and to be honest you just can't disagree.
Just imagine John Mellencamp fronting Foo Fighters jamming with Cinderella and then you get a good idea of what Fireroad sound like.Fireroad are a 4 piece rock band based in the South Wales. They were formed in 2012 by Richard Jones, the band’s lead singer and songwriter, the band is completed by Tim Jones, Gavin Davies and Matt Whitney.

Richard Jones, has a long history of performing within the local rock scene. In his youth he played with the Tragic Love Company, whom later evolved to become South Wales most well known band the Stereophonics. After leaving, he pursued other avenues whilst maintaining a close friendship with the Kelly Jones, Richard Jones and the late Stuart Cable.
I Got Sound is probably the perfect title for this album, because it sure does. Eleven excellent tracks, lovingly crafted together and brought to life by one hell of a band. The production here too is really top notch.
There isn't really a stand out track on here, but you really do have to check out Find A Way, I Got Sound, Line Me Up, Never Wrong and the beautiful Rain Water.

 

 

UBERROCK - Johnny Hayward

 

Having always been a tad disappointed with the sonics on the first version of ‘I Got Sound’ Fireroad frontman Richard Jones was determined that the band would finally get the version of the record released that they always wanted, so a year or so on from the independently released first version o said record here is the album remixed, revamped, and in some cases re-recorded for 2014. This is ‘I Got Sound’ as you’ve never heard it before, bigger, brasher and ballsier than a long lost Bon Scott penned Acca Dacca track (denim camel toe and all). The CD also looks mighty damn fine too coming as it does in a gatefold LP replica sleeve complete with a full colour lyric booklet, begging the question “what more could a poor boy or girl want from their rock ‘n’ roll music?”

 

Not to pour scorn on those diehard fans who will no doubt have already snapped up a copy of ‘I Got Sound’ at one of the many hundreds of live shows the guys have played since the album was first released, this redux version is so much more than just a simple remix job a la say the two versions of ‘Too Fast For Love’. That’s because ‘I Got Sound’ 2014 also contains a completely re-recorded version of album closer ‘Rain Water’ the band’s much loved heartbreak song, now featuring cello by Emma Bryden and on the piano guitarist Gav Davies, plus along with this also comes some really sharp add ons, like the new introduction to ‘Sundown’ which I hear is a little bit of self-indulgence from singer/guitarist Jones.

 

Having recorded the original album two months after they first became a band the songs have evolved as they have gigged almost at a breakneck pace and wanting to have their debut release sound just how they always wanted it is certainly no bad thing, especially as their potential gene pool of fans is expanding at an exponential rate. Mixing things up to ensure their hardcore fans are also still getting value for money is certainly an admirable thing from a band whose collective heart and soul is still rooted very firmly in the community spirit of their home town of Aberdare.

 

When my partner in Uber crimes Jamie Richards declared the original version of ‘I Got Sound’ to be “inspired by the golden age of American FM rock radio” back at the start of 2013 he certainly wasn’t wrong, and you will most certainly find the influence of great American songwriters like Springfield (yup Springfield not Springsteen) and Mellancamp all over tracks like ‘Never Wrong’, ‘Leave My Heart’ and ‘Before The Matinee’. But for me I hear another American singer/songwriter looming large over these tracks and that is the legend that is Dave Meniketti. In fact I can hear a lot of similarities to Y&T during their more mainstream years within Fireroad, whilst on ‘Find A Way’ it’s like mixture of Zeppelin riifferama, those aforementioned Aussie boogie merchants Acca Dacca, and Jonesy is out front sounding not unlike a latter day Fin Muir rasping out the vocals that draws me in just like a moth to a flame.

 

The reason I’m actually name checking so many of these classic rock bands is certainly not through my own laziness but more because I honestly believe ‘I Got Sound’ is a musical wet dream of an album for anyone who listens to the bands I’ve just mentioned, or perhaps someone who reads the monthly newsstand magazine specialising in that particular genre of music hoping to find the next big thing. In fact this album offers so much more the second time around that it is actually like discovering the band all over again. The only downer really being that knowing some of the great stuff that Rich, Gav, Tim and Matthew have up their sleeves it’s a bit of a disappointment that the likes of live faves ‘Your Summer Sun’ and ‘Bones’ haven’t been added here. Then again, great things come to those who wait.

 

Onwards and upwards then lads because you most definitely have the sound, and who knows pretty soon Fireroad really could taking over the airwaves worldwide. Go get ‘em!

 

 

UBERROCK - Jamie Richards

 

Founder and leader of Fireroad, Richard Jones, has made no secret of his dim and distant history with a certain band that exploded out of South Wales back in the late nineties and went on to become one of the biggest selling rock acts of the modern age.

Yeah, Richard was a member of the Stereophonics, or at least the fledgling version of the band when they were known as Tragic Love Company. He left to pursue other avenues just prior to his mates going off on a life changing adventure; on the plus side though,
at least he had nothing to do with that cover version of the nauseating housewife favourite 'Handbags and Gladrags'.
 
Fast forward then to 2012 and after many a year of nurturing his obvious talent, Richard’s eyes and dreams have been re-opened by a pleasant encounter with his old pal and former band mate Kelly Jones, that has led him to form a new version of his occasional band Fireroad, sign a deal with Welsh independent label Habit Formed Records, and record what is quite honestly one of the most enjoyable experiences you could ever hope for from a CD.
 
'I Got Sound' and 'Find A Way' kick off proceedings, both crackling with catchy, understated riffs that interlock neatly with stadia sized choruses and foot tapping beats; imagine if AC/DC had replaced Bon Scott with Bruce Springsteen instead of Brian Johnson
and you’ll be near the mark. 'Leave My Heart' threatens to slow the party down before blossoming into a smooth, infectious anthem and 'Line Me Up' is home to yet another huge sing-along chorus that could easily get the attention of a million people.
 
The album pauses for breath with the slower paced 'Before the Matinee', another hugely melodic song, Jones again displaying his impressive song writing skills as he manages to keep it more Springsteen than Bryan Adams, thankfully. The rock ‘n’ roll ear worms just keep coming at you relentlessly, and the likes of 'Sundown' and 'Swinging Brick' giving the record a little bit of a harder edge at times and, with only the ballad 'Rain Water' dropping below par a little as it closes out the record, it makes for a very impressive debut.Made in South Wales yet inspired by the golden age of American FM rock radio, 'I Got Sound' is a record of such enormous potential for Fireroad that it’s easy to see why all parties concerned are so excited about it.
 
 
 

 

PLANETMOSH - Dave Bradbery

 

FireRoad got together in 2012 and hail from the small town of Aberdare, in the South Welsh valleys.  I feel very privileged to have been asked to review ‘I Got Sound’, their debut album that was released in late 2012 through Habit Formed Records. Many a great singer and group have come to us from this area of the country, and I feel we are now witnessing the the start of something very special here. Treading in the footsteps of giants these guys are now side stepping and making their own path to the top of the rock scene. 
 
This new album is absolutely astounding, and trust me that is not an over statement! We’re taken on a trip from the deep South sounds of an Louisiana swamp band to a West coast rock group with a punk rock feel to some tracks. Some times a little reminiscent of Green Day or perhaps the Black Crowes? A taste of early Stereophonics style rock might just filter through too. Not surprising really when you realize that Richard and Kelly Jones were part of “Tragic Love Company” pre the Stereo’s. But now as Fireroad the guy’s are moving forward to showcase their own talents as experienced time served song writers/musicians. If you like good honest rock n roll with a fire in it’s belly then take the time to listen to, or if you have the chance go and see them play live instead. A much better option as you can’t take in the atmosphere from the gig that these chaps project.
 
The first track on the album is self-titled, ‘I Got Sound‘. It starts off sounding like an old scratchy vinyl record that’s been lost in the attic for years but then found, then it opens up into a brilliant first song with lots of great guitar riff’s, a nice hard honest beat and lyrics we can all sing along with, it’s a clever refreshingly new way to start a great song. Moving onto track two ‘Find A Way‘ is where I think the punky rock feel comes into play. A hard hitting song with a mega hard drum beat, and wild guitar sounds, really makes you feel you need to get up and go do some head banging!  Track three ‘Leave My Heart‘ is a bit of a sneaky song. Starting out as if it’s going to be a nice gentle ballad but then it morphs into a song something like we might have heard from the late Thin Lizzy singer Phil Lynott some years ago.
 
‘Before The Matinee’, comes across as a song written by a group of chaps of who know their stuff, and are very comfy in what their doing and how they are doing it, a track full of mojo! To me, it sounds like when it was recorded they were all really chilled out and just breezed through the recording session. A song with ‘hit single’ written all over it!  About the video which accompany’s the song, Richard Jones (  lead-singer/writer ) said………….
 
“The idea was based on a very simple premise of dark to light, growing up in the South Wales valleys, hope is a very strong theme. I funded, filmed and edited the video. Its based on the idea of nostalgia and hope for the brighter day mentioned in the lyrics”.
We have too many great tracks here to write about and it’s not my intention to bore you all with my constant drivel and waffle endlessly on. So I’ll let you all know about a couple more then leave you to make up your own minds. Just make sure you go and get their CD though as it’s a ‘not to be missed ‘ debut album you will regret not having when these guy’s have hit the big time, and they will! Having already just had their song ‘Before The Matinee‘ played on TBFM Internet Radio, they have since been told that their latest single ‘ Your Summer Sun‘ will be BBC Radio Wales’s record of the week from the 15th of July. Plus they have also been invited to do a ‘ live on air ‘ acoustic session in the studio. After a full year (2013) of gig dates the guy’s are now lining up an even bigger 2014, check the their website for details.
 
‘Knock Away‘, again here we have I think a sympathetic sound that’s a cross between Greenday and perhaps the influence’s of several other great bands, old and not so old, but then put together in a unique and definitive way that all belongs to the guy’s of FireRoad. Lots of guitar re-verb, a great drum beat, a song reminiscent of the old late 80′s sound but brought right up to date for today’s rock fans. Every track on the album has been a pleasure to listen to, and for only the second time this year i’m going to give this new piece of hard work a top five out of five. As a consequence it’s also going into my list of top ten albums to buy this year. The last track on the album is an acoustic guitar solo by Richard called ‘Rain Water‘.

 

 

 

GLOBAL ONSLAUGHT - Violet Reagen

 

Emerging out of Aberdare, this 4-piece band known as Fireroad, might be new to the scene but don’t let that fool you. Forming in 2012 and performing within the local rock scene aided this ensemble in obtaining a resume consisting of performing with South Wales most well-known band the Stereophonics along withThe Tragic Love Company and joined Kelly Jones, Ronnie Wood and Paul Weller at this year’s Teenage Cancer Trust Show. Realizing his true passion Richard Jones decided to pursue his musical interests, he was spotted by Habit Formed Record boss Chris Rogers and Fireroad was born. With the studio booked, a corpus of material and a group of well- trained musicians this band set out to introduce the world to ‘a fresh new sound for classic rock’ (Pete Maher) with their debut album ‘I Got Sound’.

 

“I Got Sound”-has all the elements to engage the listener, opening with that rustic Alabama vinyl grit, which in my opinion is lascivious. While catchy riffs, brilliant hook placements and rough yet sharp vocals set the tone for what you can expect from these mighty men.  Powerful solos and a steady yet thumping drum beat gives way to the true rock component of this track. “Find A Way”– is a flash back to the 90’s. Steady heavy beats and classic riffs with low under tones gives this track its bones it needs. The vocals speed in and take a presence. Great hooks and scales that lead to grunge infused melodic choruses and high pitched squeals make it one of my picks!“Leave My Heart” opens with a melody that makes you want to melt into a sea of memories, tossing you into the waves of life. The bitter sweet guitar chords mixed with electric harmonies and plucking bass plunge into your soul.

The vocals and tempo in the main parts of this track almost confuses the mind between defeat and triumph.  “Line Me Up”, “Never Wrong” and “Falling Down” are charged with high energy, killer hooks and a country infused with rock vibe. Adding to it guitar skills that have all the right placements and layering to intrigue the ear. Bob your brain drum beats and guitar solos that inject you with adrenaline and desire, make it almost impossible not to rock out to these tunes. While tracks like “Before the Matinee”shows the listener just how talented these musicians are. This track is the diamond In the rough.

 

It’s the track you hit when you’ve looked in the mirror to many times, beat down by others, hoping to see a different reflection staring back at you. Fighting back the tears that others have placed in your eyes. The guilt that plagues you, all the words they’ve stabbed you with. Making u realize you have the courage to change what has been written, even though you may have that sick feeling in your belly and your heart in your throat. It gives you the power and confidence to keep moving forward.  “Sundown”, “Swinging Brick”, and “Knock It Away” are those sit back and take a load off make you feel good songs. Impressive guitar skills, electric rhythms, powerful vocals and worthy drum blows are all you need!! Last but not least“Rainwater” an acoustic master piece with its straining and emotional vocals, it stands alone in all its beauty. With its honesty, it envelopes the listener, by surrendering them into the arms of its creator.

 

In my opinion this album is a mind trip. It holds so many elements of old school rock, metal, grunge, alternative and at some points influence’s such as Pearl Jam ,Zakk Wylde(Black Label) and The Black Crows. But I guess what I hear the most is exceptional uniqueness. I don’t know what aspect I love more, the fact that I am locked on the amount of 90’s nostalgia it consumes me with or my love for wicked hooks amazing riffs and hard gritty vocals. Fireroad has something alluring about them and you hunger for more just to be able to put your finger on it. Great album and start to I’d say a long and successful future.

 

 

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