As Torontonian rock troubadour Taylor Knox prepares to release his first full-length album, he offers us the enticing Fire seven-inch as a taster. The titular A-side is unswervingly appeals to tweeful power-pop. Knox’s lyrics spin double meanings from the fire motif in forays of both materialistic and spiritual optimism. All this is set to mellifluous harmonies, sparked by a charmingly catchy guitar hook.
For the B-side, “Nothing is Impossible,” Knox whips up a sterner mood. The track forges deep into minor key territory and establishes a holding pattern in the pits. In both tone and structure, “Nothing is Impossible” marks a shift from “Fire.” Knox moans, “Now I know that nothing is impossible,” with such defeated cynicism that it’s easy to get lost in the pensive vamp.
The most pleasing aspect of the Fire seven-inch is its intimacy and outspokenness. With few overdubs and studio infusions, it sounds like a band playing in a room. The sparse textures and tempered use of reverb are reminiscent of Marquee Moon’s candid dryness. Fire’s minimalist production emphasizes both songs form and composition, which also favour restraint over decadence. For example, see those tactfully clever chord changes midway through side A. The few ornaments decorate instead of adding clutter.
It’s easy to tell from Fire that Knox is cooking up something good. We see him reaching for all the time-tested herbs and spices, and the meal smells delicious — it’s just not quite ready yet.