This is Not a Slow Burn: The Firmary – Soft Reboot

It’s been more than a long while since I’ve been able to devote time to Sister’s Dissonance, with several creative projects of my own consuming me the last several years (most pressingly and enjoyably, fiction writing and publishing). But recently, for several reasons, I’ve felt the pull to return to my roots as a music ‘zine writer, and I have come across some really great music that’s causing me to feel the irrepressible urge to shout out about it (which has always been the driving force of this publication).

That said, and as a quick reminder, reviews on this site are not reviews per se but a place to share things that we want to help spread the word about and share with like-minded souls that will possibly (hopefully) have the same visceral reaction and excitement about; we only share things we love, and nothing more. As they say, word-of-mouth is the most powerful mode of communicating, and we are firm believers in engaging in that to help support other creatives.

So here it goes. The first for me to mention in my recently-reemerged-from Sis Diss slumber is The Firmary, a band based in Cleveland by way of LA, Chicago, and Buffalo. They’re a band I came across via a few different avenues that intersected around the same time and happily led me to find and follow them. I really liked what I heard. A lot. And just recently they released Soft Reboot, an EP loaded with equally-solid, fabulous tracks. Not a one is a throw away, and after compulsively listening to it many, many times over (and many more to come), I’m still hard pressed to pick a favorite as it shifts with every listen. I made a few notes amidst some of those listens, so here are my thoughts, which will hopefully compel you to give them a listen, too, if you don’t already know of them.

As the title of this article states, this EP is no slow burn. Upon pressing play you find within the sonic walls of Soft Reboot, alternating blistering /swirling /atmospheric guitarwork that soars and drops hard like a fabulous rollercoaster ride; strong, charismatic vocals with plenty of emotion bleeding through; just enough keys to keep it ethereal and menacing; basslines that are deep and driving, and combined with adept drumming, together the rhythm makers that be cradle the songs with a meticulous, iron-clad solidness.

As a music connoisseur for more decades than I want to admit, I spy an amalgam of fleeting sounds from various eras and genres, most notably the late 80’s/90’s (which hit a sweet and nostalgic spot for me). I always hesitate to draw comparisons for fear of pigeonholing, but I’ll throw out just a few for a point of reference: The Cure/Echo and the Bunnymen/The Church (think jangly guitar stylings of Robert Smith, Will Sergeant, and Marty Willson-Piper), along with dashes of Jane’s Addiction, Stone Temple Pilots, Nirvana, and Alice in Chains, in various ways. These are mentioned only as a what-you-might-also-hear aside (according to my ears) to get you interested. And all of the above, whether I’m on the right track or not as it relates to what’s meant to be expressed by the band musically, are meant as compliments.

It is apparent The Firmary are extremely well-seasoned, accomplished musicians in every regard (check out their bio to learn more about that), and they are their own thing. At the heart of it, I’m really loving driving around listening to the EP on repeat, feeling like I can blow out some big emotions and feeling uplifted and invigorated at the same time. My favorite track, as of this minute? “Rusty.” But ask me again in a few!

Listen to The Firmary via Spotify, support them by purchasing Soft Reboot via Bandcamp and elsewhere, and learn more about them via their website at and by all means, if you love it too, be sure to follow them and share the links and engage in word of mouth practices, too!

— Shan