Set Fire is quickly becoming one of those local outfits that can do no wrong in our book. Take their latest EP, Prism, as a prime example. It was a surprise release (To us, at least) which already makes it stand out. Then you get an updated version of a track we already know (“Smoke Rolls” from Death Kiss Volume 2, read our review here), a killer new ditty (“A Mile Before Time”), AND it’s all topped off with a cover of an underrated Soundgarden classic (“Room A Thousand Years Wide”). What’s not to love?
But I digress.
Since previous recordings I’ve been looking for the perfect descriptor for Jim Healey’s voice and I think I’ve finally found it: timeless. It is! It’s familiar yet unique and soulful and fits the Set Fire sound so perfectly. Whether crooning on new track “A Mile Before Time” or going for Chris Cornell’s baritone at the beginning of “Room A Thousand Years Wide” which builds to a howl, the man just gives it his all.
But I digress again.
I mentioned in my initial review of “Smoke Rolls” that the song was a good indicator of where SF were headed and I was apparently not wrong. The “finished” version of that track is lush, utilizing all of Jess Collins’ amazing keys skills from the piano-driven intro luring listeners into Healey and Rob Davol’s syncopated guitar and drum attack through to the organ tones that permeate throughout until this gorgeous breakdown which really shows off her mastery of the 88 keys.
Then there’s her voice which is the perfect contrast to Healey’s especially on the Soundgarden cover where it legit gave me chills during the second verse with a slightly wavering inflection which injects even more soulfulness into the tune. Then she pairs up with Healey during different verses and the chorus and the results are truly spectacular. But if you think you’re getting a sax solo up in the Set Fire version, you are sorely mistaken. Instead you get a bashing from Davol as Healey and especially Collins attempt to out croon the other making for a stunning conclusion.