Sunday, March 05, 2017

Firebeats Inc.: I Never Knew the Sun Could Shine So Brightly at Night

When I heard this on BBC Radio 3's Late Junction last week I assumed it was some forgotten British R&B gem.

But if you spot the singers' accent and listen to the lyrics, its real origin is not such a surprise.

Because Firebeats Inc. were a Norwegian band.

And it comes from their eponymous first LP, of which Record Collector said:
The sole 60s album by Norway’s Firebeats, Inc is a wet-dream object of desire for freakbeat collectors. Only 500 copies are believed to have been pressed up in 1966, so the LP must have been presupposed to miss the charts by several country miles. HMV Norway obviously figured that no one in any other territories would buy the album if not even Norwegians would. (Cough.) 
Thing is, the album’s freakbeat reputation is a tale that has grown in the telling. When it muscles in with Funny Things, as curt and surly as The Sorrows or The Outsiders, you’ll be on auction sites within nanoseconds, peeling off figurative £100 notes in pursuit of an original copy. 
However, as the album proceeds, it becomes obvious that the band’s tendencies erred more towards “beat” than “freak”. Nothing wrong with that: but the guileless pop songs written by vocalist/ rhythm guitarist Yngve Bjerke generally sound far closer in essence to the first Hollies album than, say, I Must Be Mad or Garden Of My Mind. 
That said, the stylishly spare I Never Knew The Sun Could Shine So Brightly At Night is terse enough for The Yardbirds’ “Roger The Engineer”: and among the 12 bonus tracks, a Norwegian-language version of Secret Agent Man (Hemmelig Agent) grooves like a Rotavator.

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