Fire Engines Hungry Beat

Celebrated post-punk outfit Fire Engines left only a few singles and an album’s worth of material when they split in 1981, but what they lacked in quantity they made up for in quality, influencing the likes of virtually every important Scottish indie act and post-punk obsessed musician since. To prove their vitality, Domino reissued Codex Teenage Premonition, a compilation of live tracks and radio sessions two years back, and now Acute Records has followed with Hungry Beat. A far superior compilation to Domino’s rusted assortment of gratingly recorded lo-fi material, Acute has tracked down the band’s one and only album, 1981’s Lubricate Your Living Room, as well as tacked on the A- and B-sides of their three singles. Like with many reissues, you can hear the influence Fire Engines had on their followers, be it admitted fans like the Jesus & Mary Chain or an act like Love of Diagrams, who show their gratitude in every note they play. Debut single "Get Up and Use Me” encapsulates their fondness for detuned guitar riffage, which offsets Davy Henderson’s frantic hollering. For such an uncompromising bunch, Fire Engines could conceive ridiculously accessible pop songs like the new wave-leaning "Big Gold Dreams” and the infectious romp of "Candyskin.” Hungry Beat is a brilliantly realised compilation that, despite some occasional irregularities, feels like a proper album. Capped off by a 16-page booklet with photos and a Bob Last essay, it’s an essential tribute to a band that deserve more credit than they receive. (Acute)