Formed over a love of lo-fi noise and trash aesthetics, New Jersey’s Pyre Fyre began making their own brand of stoner/sludge music in 2019. A pair of digital singles emerged in 2021, with each cementing the band’s commitment to a DIY brand of riffs and distortion. Despite not having the most original sound, there was plenty about the unavoidable influence from ‘Houdini’ era Melvins cutting through the heart of ‘Lobotomy’, especially, that suggested this project came with a great potential.
That potential shines even brighter on this pair of recordings, used to kick off 2022. Lead track ‘Rinky Dink City’ emerges via a lo-fi distorted buzz, and quickly grows into a groove-laden beast where a truckload of fuzz collides with an overdriven guitar riff. The tones are of a higher pitch than expected, yet still convey a dark spirit, and a natural, slightly gravelly vocal provides an excellent counterpoint throughout. As the track progresses, it almost feels as if the band have taken their Melvins core and welded it to the southern sounds of 20 Watt Tombstone along the way, resulting in an arrangement that’s heavy, but shamelessly retro. Chorus wise, things are even better; a singular line is repeated, but the band gets away with such simplicity due to the clever use of a rising melody which injects the dirty stoner sounds with something more catchy, before everything descends into a dirty, heavy jam where these Jersey boys drop into something that isn’t a million miles away from a DIY Royal Blood homage. The levels of fuzz remain constant throughout, but when tempered by higher toned wah-ed effects, the riffs appear to take on yet another sound, making these two minutes the band’s most adventurous to date.
On the flip side, ‘Slow Cookin’ fills two minutes with a heavy, lo-fi groove that’s very obviously culled from an old Fu Manchu jam, dressed in classic Melvins fuzz and hammered intensely to bring the ultimate in independent stoner sounds. The way an angry lead guitar occasionally pierces through the wall of sound very much catches the ear, and the featured solo is one of the most distorted affairs you’ll encounter with a tone that suggests your speakers have blown. That’s all great, but the best moments here are supplied by drummer/vocalist Mike Montemarano who smashes his kit hard, and yet still manages to lock down something of a melodic core. Although there are a few elements here that could be seen as generic, in this case, that definitely isn’t a bad thing, and if this track proves anything, it’s that guitarist Dan Kirwan (not to be confused with the legendary Danny Kirwan) is able to drop riffs that are every bit as good as the legendary Pepper Keenan. During this short workout, this power trio more than prove they are every bit about the power when it comes to bringing a classic stoner sound.
Both of these tracks hold onto a solid stoner core, but are no means a direct copy of their previous works; the riffs are every bit as heavy, and yet in ‘Rinky Dink Town’ especially, they demonstrate more of a willingness to stretch out in a way that feels broad enough to incorporate elements of other alternative sounds, very much pushing forward. Whichever way you look at it, this digital release is an independent stoner essential – a two headed riff beast that’s uncompromising and classic sounding in equal measure. If Pyre Fyre haven’t been on your radar previously, these recordings will make them hard to ignore.