CD Review: The On Fires “Betrayer”

Musicians Maxine Harman and Marty Xenoff make up the base for the Australian rock band The On Fires. In the band, Harman is the keyboardist/singer, while Xenoff is the guitarist/singer. The two musicians make for a fine writing team and with the people they have chosen to help fill out their sound while in the studio or on stage, they have a sound that people seem to gravitate to. But unlike many of the ever-increasing number of duos that exist out there in the music industry today with just two musicians, Harman and Xenoff call upon other musicians to help fill out the band’s sound so they don’t end up sounding hollow.
For the last few years, The On Fires have split their time on the road between their home area of Australia and Europe, where they are developing a following. With two continents covered, The On Fires were ready to spread to North America. For that to happen, the band went about recording a new release. They are currently promoting that new release entitled Betrayer.
Musicians Maxine Harman and Marty Xenoff make up the base for the Australian rock band. In the band, Harman is the keyboardist/singer, while Xenoff is the guitarist/singer. But unlike many of the ever-increasing number of duos that exist out there in the music industry today with just two musicians, Harman and Xenoff call upon other musicians to help fill out the band’s sound so they don’t end up sounding hollow.
The style of  The On Fires seems to simultaneously incorporate the old styles of rock ‘n’ roll and the new styles of today’s bands: At times, they seem to fit in more with today’s bands that can be found on current radio formats. At other times, the band has more of a punk/glam feel to their music.
“Coming Home” is the song that kicks off Betrayer by The On Fires. The song is an upbeat track that combines the feeling of punk rock with just a little bit of the off-kilter style of rock that Devo became known for. The song also has a drum solo that is very reminiscent of the Ron Wilson drum solo from “Wipeout” by The Surfaris.
“Hanging With The Living” has a sound that feels like it belongs back in the sixties. Take some of the best psychedelic feeling to the music that was around at that time and add some of the more underground bands that were creating some of the straight-out rock back in the eighties and you get some idea of what this track sounds like. The resulting energetic feel to the music sounds like what you would get if you combined The Kinks from the sixties with Echo & The Bunnymen in the eighties. “Hanging With The Living” is one of the tracks that feels almost timeless because of the various musical elements that were combined to create the song.  
“Precious Injury” sounds like a cross between The Motels and Duran Duran. The style here brings to mind these two bands before they were both “commercialized” by their respective record labels. The song sounds like it belongs on college radio back in the ‘eighties. 
With the song “Melancholy,” the listener gets to experience, for the first time on this album, the beautiful voice of Maxine as she takes the lead on this track. The piano-driven tune, coupled with the strings on this track, brings to mind a song written in the style of Queen. You can almost imagine Freddie Mercury sitting at the piano as he plays the music and sings the lyrics to this song. The resulting track once again takes the listener back; this time, however, the song would belong within the Glam Rock era.
With the song “Without,” the band slows the pace of the music down slightly but does not lose any intensity in the music as the beat seems as hard on this track as it is on any of the quicker-paced tracks. The track is just one of the tracks on the new album from The On Fires where the band lets their modern-day influences shine through. This song seems to have a little flavor from current bands like Coldplay and Stereophonics shining through and, altogether, the track would be right at home on either Top 40 music formats or even Alternative Rock formats.
Betrayer by The On Fires is a solid collection made up of fifteen songs. Each song on the album has something different to offer the listener, and this helps make it a joy to listen to. Whether you are a fan of the older music that was part of the late seventies/early eighties, or you are more of a fan of the music of today’s bands, The On Fires have captured a mixture of those styles in their music. Their album Betrayer is strong and will help to expand their fanbase. Keep your eyes and ears open for this talented band as they are currently making their way through North America promoting their strong release of it.
 
To find the band, you can check out their website at www.theonfires.com. You can also find them online at www.myspace.com/theonfires.
As if this wasn’t enough, check this out on YouTube.

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