Dean Fertita's new solo project Hello=Fire is a selection of fresh tracks that show us a different side of the man's exploits as part of QOTSA and The Dead Weather. Enjoy an intimate psychedelic session of airy syths high on drugs and vibrant guitars, stringed to nostalgic lyrics to deliver the energy of a Colonel Parker
Dean Fertita's debut album 'Hello = Fire' is more than the sum of the parts of his previous affiliations. (Queens Of The Stone Age, The Dead Weather and The Waxwings to name but three - in fact three of his QOTSA bandmates : Michael Schuman, Troy Van Leeuwen, and Joey Castillo all chip in to lend a helping hand).
In some ways it is a good old-fashioned rock album. Jump straight to 'Mirror Each Other' for a nicely nostalgic taste of yesteryear. The rough and ready performance has an energetic "live" ambience and despite the somewhat hackneyed nature of the number's riffs it survives by virtue of its honest energy.
Mr Fertita's heart seems to belong to the sixties and seventies in many ways. Opening track 'Certain Circles' has an almost Beatle-ish ambience; a little bit Mersea-sound, a little bit summer-of-love. The immediacy of his co-production with Brendan Benson (He of The Raconteurs) makes the music jump out of the speakers with uncluttered and unaffected brio.
There is tenderness too. The naive and ever-so-slightly clumsy 'Nature Of Our Minds' wobbles and warbles along in a strangely captivating way. Mr Fertita's fragile vocal performance floats above the bumbling electric piano, out-of-tune acoustic guitar and slippery vocal harmonies in a curiously affecting manner.
'Someplace Spacious' is a deliciously anachronistic pop song. The "la la la, ooh ooh ooh" (very approx!) backing vocals in the chorus are particularly amusing. The composition dips into the past with a light touch and a big toothy grin.
'I Wanna Like You' is a cracking piece of post-psychedelic mayhem. The keyboard sounds like a Farfisa (even if it isn't) and delivers an entirely apposite tonal ambience to the arrangement. The grumpy bass and grizzly guitar solo are a complete hoot!
The cheesy synthesiser motif and four-square, mid-tempo beats of final track 'Parallel' evolve into an anthem of considerably greater potency and complexity than we have encountered thus-far. With its well-constructed long-hair-and-tie-dyed harmonies it brings the album to a memorable picnic-in-hippie-heaven conclusion.
'Hello = Fire' will not be everybody's cup of chamomile tea but for those, like myself, with an appetite for nostalgia there is much to enjoy in this perfectly respectable little album.