Producer / composer / multi-instrumentalist Angel Marcloid records music under the moniker Fire-Toolz. Though Marcloid’s output emerges in a litany of distinct aliases and projects — from the jazz fusion / new age of Nonlocal Forecast to the vaporous nostalgia of MindSpring Memories — the Fire-Toolz catalog remains the central focus of the prolific artist’s musical universe and a home for Marcloid’s most ambitious and combinatory work. I am upset because I see something that is not there., the fifth Fire-Toolz album to join the Hausu Mountain catalog since 2017, follows 2021’s sprawling double-album Eternal Home (HAUSMO111) and 2022’s self-released EP I will not use the body’s eyes today. I am upset […] offers listeners a prismatic cross-section of juxtaposed genres and compositional contortions to explore, maintaining Fire-Toolz’s signature density and complexity while tightening the scope of Marcloid’s experimentation into the project’s most focused song cycle to date. Perhaps more than any previous Fire-Toolz album, I am upset […] presents some form of pop music, carried in Marcloid’s passages of clean vocals, in the bright synth and keyboard tones that animate its tracks, in the yearning saxophone lines that pour into view and whisk the narrative onto a new path. The format of a one-person “band” carries a different weight in a landscape of solo artists crafting abstract modernist productions that don’t allude in the slightest to various twentieth-century rock-related traditions. Fire-Toolz exists on both sides of this divide.
Throughout Last Chance at the Pharmacy, the quintet succeeds in bringing everything that’s constantly ping-ponging in Switzer’s and performer Sam Jayne’s heads into a cohesive and admirably executed album – one that knows when to throttle back… and when to pour gasoline into a poorly-ventilated practice space and light a match.
Moments of pure, transcendent chaos are plentiful, in which Patrick Apfelbeck’s percussion, Kevin Hall’s synths, Eric Dietrich’s aerophone / saxophone, and Switzer’s vocals are locked in with the increasing speed and preciseness of a radar tracking missile. On tracks like “Pharmacy,” slabs of noise hit dead-on with every consonant of Switzer’s ferocious vocals, while the appropriately titled “Tanker” features supertanker-sized holes between notes, filled in with squealing guitars, saxophone, and Switzer’s affected drawl.
Fruit LoOops achieves perfectly measured sonic decimation throughout the entire runtime of Last Chance at the Pharmacy. They’re at their best and most unhinged, and Last Chance represents a major step forward for the Cincinnati group as the torchbearers of Ohio’s gleeful and weird Art-Punk underbelly.