Fire Marshals of Bethlehem

Songs for Housework (Buildgut)

Texas Platters

Fire Marshals of Bethlehem

Songs for Housework (Buildgut)

Who decides when there's no room at the inn? The Fire Marshals of Bethlehem. That's the name of this project conceived by Austin music scene vets John Croslin and Kevin Carney. Croslin, best known as a member of Eighties indie rockers the Reivers, has produced acts like Spoon, the Damnations, and John Vanderslice, and with Carney, guitarist and vocalist for the Wannabes, they envisioned FMOB with a revolving cast of players. When that didn't work, they settled on the current lineup, which includes bassist Hunter Darby, lead singer Julie Lowery, drummer David Mider, and fiddle player Jenny Smith. Together they make folk-pop that echoes the Reivers, but is different enough in texture and feel to allow the Fire Marshals to be distinctive. Lowery's vocals are strong and clear, and the songs possess the right amount of jangle, but over the course of 11 songs there's a little too much similarity to the grooves and melodies to keep it wholly engaging. Still, with songs like riff-rocking opener "Rock for Your Pockets," the melancholy "Bed Bed," and slowly smoldering "The Way They Burn," FMOB regulate Songs for Housework like safety-conscious officers of pop.

**.5

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