The Fire Marshals of Bethlehem
The World From the Back Seat (n / a)
Reviewed by Greg Beets, Fri., Nov. 20, 2009
The Fire Marshals of BethlehemThe World From the Back Seat
Boasting a veteran local lineup of assorted Wannabes, WayOuts, and Diamond Smugglers, the second Fire Marshals of Bethlehem album brings beery light pop to bear on a wistful set of songs united in the theme of transition. Seconds into homesick opener "Lawrence," Jenny Smith's violin sets the quintet's distinctive tone, which expands upon pop purity with swashes of Americana, folk, and country. Julie Lowery's plaintive vocals cinch the deal as the elegiac "Everywhere" wades into the thicket of left-behind melancholia and "State Fair" recasts Lou Reed's "Perfect Day" under the unblinking eyes of Big Tex. Drummer David Mider throws his rough-hewn voice into the ring with the softly foreboding "Quiet in Here" and the deceptively upbeat closer, "Molly's Disappointed." Despite all the breaking up, growing old, and moving on, Back Seat's memorable melodies transform life's bitter pills into resilient instruments of commiseration.