I had never heard of Firefly Burning until their music appeared in my e-mail inbox. I have no idea why they have remained a stranger to me for this album, Skeleton Hill, is an eclectic treat. It is the second album from this five piece London band. Somehow their debut album, Lightships, escaped me. Somehow.
It is hard to explain the listening experience. It is very reminiscent of Regina Spektor’s Mary Ann Meets The Gravediggers album for me. It is both unsettling and beautiful – I am never sure where the next track will take me. The one thing I am sure of is that Bea Hankey has the kind of singing voice that floats into your ears and sets up home in your soul. This is never more true than on the track ‘Beloved’. Simply stunning. Bea also penned several of the lyrics. She is a hybrid of Bjork and Kate Bush with a little Martha Tilston thrown in for good measure.
It is a return to producing for Talk Talk’s Tim Friese-Green, and what has been produced is a refreshing musical outing of originality, born out of many music influences. You can hear so many genres drifting in and out of their sound. The music, at times, is theatrical and at others times stripped down until it is almost barely there.
The ten tracks seem to cover centuries and every emotion that is possible. It is all encompassing. On the haunting track ‘Pioneer’ Bea sings: “You are a work in progress,” and this is how I feel about this album, even though it is completed, which is a compliment. It is an organic listening experience, offering something different with each listen and it continues to morph.
Firefly systematics are in a constant state of flux, and this must be why the band are called what they are: This album is ever changing and ever beautiful.
Skeleton Hill is out now via Fathom Records.