Both a member of innovative avant-rock trio Palberta and the sole creator of the modern outsider masterpiece I Hope All of Your Dreams Come True, Philadelphia-based multi-instrumentalist Nina Ryser is easily one of my favorite musicians at the moment. On Fire Roast she lends her always charismatic, charming vocal style to a new quartet that also features Ani Ivry-Block, Zoë Talkin, and Gabe Adels. The band’s sprightly brand of art punk is much less skittery and elusive than either of the other projects I mentioned previously, but with a decidedly reticent approach to songwriting and a warm, raucous power-pop energy, Fire Roast more than competes. Ryser is the only member credited with vocals and presumably also doesn’t lend her instrumental talents to this new band, a lineup configuration that frees up space for layered harmonies and other vocal idiosyncrasies while maintaining that distinctive post-punk power trio sound. From the magnetic guitar/bass interplay on “Smash” to the slow burn start and superb lyrical imagery of “What a Pity,” the twenty-minute debut covers a great deal of ground before even reaching the wonderful concluding track “Folly or Fate,” a long and ambitious cut that proudly displays every facet of the scruffy four piece’s irresistible charm.
Fire Roast is available on cassette from the Single Girl Married Girl website.