« Previous Post | Pop & Hiss Home | Next Post »

Album review: The Fireman's 'Electric Arguments'

The_firemen_240 The third outing from Paul McCartney's duo project with Killing Joke-Orb producer Youth moves this project, which had mostly been instrumental electronic/ambient exercise, ahead by developing full-fledged songs built around McCartney's ever magical voice. In fact, in several of the 13 songs, that voice is employed almost as just another sonic texture, the meaning of words being less critical to the overall effect than the sheer sound of them. It has the feeling of yet another attempt to alter the latter-day public perception of McCartney as the square Beatle.

It's a worthwhile effort. Being song-based, there's less substantive distance between this and McCartney's most recent solo outing, "Memory Almost Full," although he works from a broader musical palette. "Electric Arguments" spans the home-studio spontaneity of his first solo album, "McCartney," in the screaming heavy blues-rocker "Nothing Too Much Just Out of Sight" to more elaborately produced tracks such as "Sun Is Shining," a song that wouldn't have sounded out of place on "Band on the Run."

Then there's "Is This Love?" a dreamy U2-ish soundscape full of penny whistle, celesta, pinging upper-register bass runs and echoing multi-tracked vocals. That segues into an even loopier workout, "Lovers in a Dream," which opens with bending cries of bowed acoustic bass that sound as if McCartney and Youth invited a few humpback whales into the studio to sing and dance along with them.

McCartney's bottomless well of melody ensures that none of it gets too far afield, even as the songs turn more amorphous as the album unfolds. The pair wraps things up (not counting the obligatory hidden track -- replete with a backward-masked whisper at the end!) with "Don't Stop Running," a haunting minimalist rocker in which McCartney repeats the title phrase as if a mantra to himself not to get caught up in the past.

Excellent argument.

--Randy Lewis

The Fireman
"Electric Arguments"
* * * (3 stars)

Comments () | Archives (11)


did you even bother listening to the entire album or just some 30 sec. snippets on the net. You gave Electric Arguments a 3 starr review, I suggest you listen to the album again in it's entirety it's BRILL! .. perhaps you will think differently.


I agree. The reviewer didn't take this album as seriously as he should have. There's no doubt this is a 3.5 star album at least, that's obvious to anyone who's fully absorbed this album.

i think if you get out of the frame of mind which has Paul as a Beatle your not expecting mainstream pop records. Then you can appreciate this as an excellent piece of work - very creative, fantastic sounds and a wonderful record to listen to. 3.5 or 4 stars in my opinion.

what you guys are really off 5.0 is more like it a fascinating sound for me I've listened to a lot of PMCC truly a well thought out 14 tracks
have it on right now for spin # 4

Although I like this I wish Paul would team back up with Denny from Wings they were as hot as the Beatles if yo take a listien to Paul's ealier things.

Paul's inventiveness has long been under-appreciated. His cutting-edge sense was always overshadowed by John and George, who were considered the heavies or "rebels" of the band.
Take a good listen to his bass playing, even the early stuff ("Rain"). He's one of the best. Very creative. He should do more instrumental stuff.

Paul, along with himself is channeling John,& George...kind of, it's the best we can have, and that's plenty good enough for this impoverished time!!!

Electric Arguments is a psychedelic and progressive masterpiece by Paul McCartney at age 66. It's the most surprising and amazing CD of 2008. Plaudits for the music industry's most famous vegetarian and melodic master.

"It has the feeling of yet another attempt to alter the latter-day public perception of McCartney as the square Beatle"

NO Randy you don't get it on a MUCH larger scale. This is just what McCartney does. This is how he kicks it in the studio? Ever hear RAM?

I just downloaded this album Yesterday. I had not really heard of it before. I think it is one of his best ever. Some of the tracks could have fit nicely on a Beatles album. I even appreciated the gap, because i am listening while doing my work. the music came back in nicely.

Never was a big fan of Wings. Prefer Beatles and solo stuff. Liked some of his orchestral work too.

Personally I think this is McCartney's most creative album as a solo artist


Recommended on Facebook

In Case You Missed It...


Recent Posts

Tweets and retweets from L.A. Times staff writers.



Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: