A few months ago, we were lucky enough to get a glimpse at the title track off FireBug’s highly awaited album, “No Return.” Now, we finally have the full package at our fingertips. FireBug’s full-length album brings forth an incredible fusion of Pshcydelia, Rock, Blues, and even a bit of Folk sprinkled in there, and we can’t wait to show you all it has to offer.
Joshua Tree recording artist FireBug has made its mark on listeners around the globe through its countless performances at various music festivals and venues, some of which include SXSW, CMJ, French Quarter Festival New Orleans, and many others.
Written by members Juliette Tworsey and Jules Shaprio, FireBug recorded their full-length album “No Return” with the help of recording engineer Charlie Stavish at The Clocktower Recorders in Joshua Tree.
Now, we’ll take a deeper look at this standout project by FireBig. Kicking off the start of the album, we have the title track, “No Return,” a song we already know and love. “No Return” blends Classic and Psychedelic Rock aspects, reminiscent of bands like Led Zeppelin and Gretta Van Fleet. “No Return” is a slow build into a beautifully full-bodied Rock experience.
Moving on to track two, “Trail That Never Ends (Celestial Traveler),” we are met with an intimate acoustic guitar line and Tworsey’s captivating vocals. Intricate acoustic guitar patterns backup Tworsey’s vocals beautifully. This track evokes a soothing, trance-like feeling until it picks up in the last quarter of the song with heavy guitar and drums that drive momentum forward to close out the track. This powerful instrumental ending is unsuspecting yet incredible.
Track three brings us to “Moment of Joy,” a more laid-back, blues-inspired song. Soulful guitar and bass introduce the track, while groovy, sultry vocals immerse the listener in a full-bodied, relaxed experience.
Up next, we have “Change,” another Blues/Rock-infused song we can’t get enough of. We are lulled by a melodic piano, as guitar, bass, and drums drive the backing of the track. Passionate guitar and piano solos flutter in and out of the scene as Tworsey’s consistently outstanding vocals steal the show.
Moving on to the fifth track, “Only the Lucky,” listeners are met with intimate acoustic guitar reminiscent of Classic Rock tracks we know and love. They open the track with powerful, soulful vocals, and we are immediately hooked on every word. This vocal and guitar-driven track make its mark, creating a powerful yet intimate statement.
Next up, we have “Down,” the sixth track off the album. This track feels smooth and soulful, with a prominent bass groove and relaxed kit as the backbone of the song. Once again, FireBug infuses their classic elements of rock and blues guitar throughout the track, and we are eating it right up. We also can’t forget about the impressive keys solo coming in at the end, filling in the gaps as Tworsey passionately sings out the title of the track multiple times as we approach the ending.
Finally, we reach “St. Elmo’s Fire,” the closing track to the album.
Tworsey opens with the lines:
“Oh here comes the rain, oh outside my door
Oh, when it rains, yes, it rains
Oh, it pours”
The overall feel of this track and its lyrics create a perfectly intimate, peaceful, and calm atmosphere for the listener. An intriguing guitar line continuously riffs throughout the song back alongside a piano as Tworsey’s vocals scatter around the soundscape, beautifully closing out the track and project as a whole.
All in all, FireBug’s “No Return” is a fully-immersive experience that is well worth setting aside a chunk of your day to sit and listen through from top to bottom. They prove their extreme talent as individual musicians and cohesion as a group, with consistently captivating vocals and instrumental sections that are the driving force of this album. FireBug demonstrates extreme diversity and expertise in their craft throughout “No Return,” as they effortlessly fuse together nostalgic aspects of nostalgic genres Pscedilia, Rock, Blues, and Folk.
Go and show some love to FireBug and their standout album, “No Return,” today.
We are so happy to have you here, this time around, celebrating the release of your full-length album, "No Return." Putting out a large-scale project like this is a huge accomplishment. What does it feel like to finally have this full-length project out in the world?
Juliette: Hello! Thank you so much, BuzzMusic! We are happy to be here. It feels good to have accomplished a body of work that we can say that we're proud of. We poured everything that we've got into getting these songs recorded so that we can share them with the world.
Jules: We had so much fun making this record! We produced it ourselves (The Two Jays), so there is that personal touch added to the vibe/flow of the album. We also explored more musical territory and experimented a bit more than we have on previous recordings.
We'd love to know a bit more of the backstory behind FireBug and how it was formed?
Juliette: FireBug came about as a result of Jules and I were meeting in our hometown of Chicago. We were both seeking out opportunities to either join or form a band. After hanging out and jamming out on a song idea, we decided to form a band, with the two of us being the core.
Jules: We formed our band in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood. We lived in a loft just off of Ashland and Division, where we rehearsed a few times a week. We have lived in L.A. and also, most recently, in New Orleans. We moved to Joshua Tree in the Fall of 2017 and fell in love with our surroundings and the Hi-Dez life!
What did the writing and recording process look like creating the album? What was it like collaborating with Charlie Stavish to record the project?
Juliette: The process involved using a multi-tiered approach. The first stage was the inception period, during which the idea(s) came to life, usually at home while rehearsing or taking a break from rehearsing known songs to allow the creative process to take over. This was the time to not think about playing anything specific too deeply. The intent was just to play whatever resulted from the thought processes and meanderings of that particular moment. There is quite a bit of thrown-away material when going about things this way, but it feels natural and intuitive when you finally stumble on what feels like a keeper idea. Then we'd often try new songs out when performing live as a duo. This was the second stage when things would begin to come together a bit more. After tinkering around with what we felt were the strongest songs, we had to rearrange some of them to better fit the context of the full band.
The final stage was getting everyone together to go into the studio to work with engineer Charlie Stavish. Working with Charlie was a great experience. He is a phenomenal engineer with a laser focus and a great set of ears. He really knows how to capture the essence of a band in a live setting. There is enough separation to hear all of the instruments so that each can sit in their own respective space. He captured the vocals really well also. He understands how to capture vocals really well, and you will be able to hear that on this album.
Jules: Go in with a plan and come out with a great record :) We were so fortunate to work with Charlie Stavish up here in Joshua Tree. He is a very talented recording engineer, super focused, always open to experimenting, etc. I learned so much and had a great time working in his studio (The ClockTower Recorders).
Did you face any challenges or setbacks throughout the writing or recording experience?
Juliette: Time and money are always issue. Getting everyone's schedules together was a process, as was traveling back and forth to L.A. from the desert to rehearse. We had a few scary car issues/incidents on the road while commuting, but thankfully we are OK and in one piece.
Jules: Rehearsing with the band in L.A. and recording in Joshua Tree during Covid lockdowns, etc.. was a balancing act, but we made it work!
What sort of overall listening experience did you want to give your audience with your album "No Return"? Do you have a takeaway message you'd like to send out to your fans?
Juliette and Jules: We hope that our fans can be transported to a place that can serve as a temporary refuge away from the many distractions that we face daily in the modern world. The constant onslaught of information so often keeps us from living in the moment where we are now. The world is (always) moving fast, and it somehow (perception-wise) seems to be moving even faster as time goes on. Hopefully, this record slows time down a bit for our listeners just enough to notice those transient moments that so often get overlooked in our quest to get to wherever it is that we're going. Ultimately, we hope that people get as much out of these songs as we did while creating them.
What's next for you?
Juliette and Jules: Rehearsing to become better musicians, coming up with more new ideas, getting our music out there to the world, and continuing the process for as long as we can.