Album review
Radiola Records
27 - 11 - 2003

Tracking list

  1. Gimme Your Love
  2. Commercialized Man
  3. I'll Be Your Guide
  4. Not Anymore
  5. Strange [But Nice]
  6. Remember
  7. Boarding Time
  8. Pepperspray
  9. The Toughest Way
  10. Barrel Of Truth
  11. You And Me
  12. Coming Home
    Bonus Tracks
  13. Gimme Your Love Versão Em Português
  14. Revolta
  15. Estranho
  16. Terminou
  17. Bate-volta
  18. Gimme Your Dub
  19. Coming Dub
  20. Boarding Dub
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : 3/4 Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 4

Firebug is the Brazilian project of Victor Rice, who has been one of the most influential producers and musicians in the ska- and reggae- scene during the last couple of years. He is not only well-known in busy New York City, but even in Brasil - where he also has a place of residence - and throughout Europe and especially Germany, where you can get in touch with his works in many ways; either as long-time bass player of The New York Ska Jazz Ensemble or as producer of numerous records, e.g. by Dr. Ring-Ding & The Senior Allstars, who flew him in in 2001 to dub and remix their album "Pick Up The Pieces". His latest soloalbum "In America" had been written and recorded between 2001 and 2003, in NYC and Sao Paulo/Brasil. He was involved in over 30 albums since 1996 as producer or bassist, for these other bands besides the ones mentioned above, The Stubborn All-Stars, The Scofflaws, Skavoovie & The Epitones, The Slackers and The Toasters. Of course he mixed and produced Firebug's selftitled debut, playing bass, keyboards, guitar and percussion as well, alongside singer and guitarist Felipe Machado and drummer Rodrigo Cerqueira. Starting with the slow rocksteady-ish "Gimme Your Love", embellished by 60s-organ and melodica, the pace remains slow for "Commercialized Man", before a ska scorcher puts all in a higher gear "I'll Be Your Guide". "Not Anymore" is a conscious tune in early reggae style, on which the vocals sound a bit thin, but that is made up for in the slow paced "Strange [But Nice]". "Remember" features a 60s like Shadows guitar riff on a very relaxed riddim, while "Boarding Time" is reminding me a lot of the slower songs of Two Tone stalwarts The Beat, just missing Saxa's hornriffs. "Pepperspray" is a great melodica embellished tune with love problem lyrics, followed by the great slowish dubby "The Toughest Way". On both "You And Me" and "Coming Home" the real lack of variation in the vocals gets a bit under my skin. But the album doesn't end there, 8 bonus tracks, on which Victor Rice after Portuguese/alternate versions of "Gimme Your Love", "Revolta Commercialized Man", "Estranho Strange But Nice", "Terminou Not Anymore" and "Bate-Volta I'll Be Your Guide", takes the limelight dubbing it up. And he's a great dub-producer, completely restructuring the riddims and the vocals echoing in and out of the mix. This is a fine album, and in my opinion the best is saved for the last 3 tracks.