Fireballet - Two Too

Fireballet – Two Too

86 / 100

Fireballet are an interesting New Jersey 70’s pomp band with nods to the wild and wacky, if you enjoy bands like Cinema Face, Zazu or Ethos, you might dig these guys.

Written by: Dangerzone

ARTIST: Fireballet
ALBUM: Two Too
LABEL: Passport
YEAR: 1976
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List

LINEUP: Jim Cuomo – vocals, drums * Ryche Chlanda – guitar * Martin Biglin – bass * Bryan Hough – keyboards * Frank Petto – synthesizers

TRACK LISTING: 01 Great Expectations * 02 Chinatown Boulevard * 03 It’s About Time * 04 Desire * 05 Flash * 06 Carrolon * 07 Montagne En Fili Gree



It’s hard to conceive that Fireballet approved of the album cover featuring themselves prancing around as ballerinas, but once exposed to this bombastic, marvelously over the top piece of 70’s pomp/prog it’s actually fitting. This was the American quintet’s second and final album, following on from 1975’s minor classic ‘Night On Bald Mountain’, which among the more fervent fans of the scene appears to be highly regarded.

Reportedly the debut was close in spirit to Genesis, Yes and the like, but by ‘Two, too…’ traces of those acts all but disappeared and it’s interesting that most observers find this album a magnificent failure, which was a total departure from the debut musically.

Based on the evidence here, the Fireballet debut must have been an all time great as the quota of surging pomp on offer is often staggering and executed in the finest mid to late 70’s tradition, keyboards and synths dueling furiously with some of the most indulgent and ambitious vocal work perhaps heard to that point.

The Songs

In all fairness this is hard to fault, as the extremes pushed are handled with such zeal and enthusiasm that those who claim Fireballet changed tact too quickly from the debut must be suffering from sour grapes. Opener ‘Great Expectations’ uses a multitude of backing vocalists for some bizarre harmonies that must be heard to appreciate, the vocal highs and lows coming at great speed to a chorus that ranks with the best of early Kansas, melody packed, complete with string arrangements and explosive drumming.

The progressive direction comes in waves during ‘Chinatown Boulevard’, which uses Asian influences in the flute and keyboard work, the latter positively dazzling, and indeed as extravagant as the vocals are, this is more technically minded and intriguing than Genesis themselves were in 1976 with Phil Collins at the helm. ‘Desiree’ almost passes for period AOR of the era, with horn work and timely guitar fills.

‘Flash’ begins lushly, very harmonious prog that blasts into life with several minutes of instrumental bliss involving mellotron heaven. True progressive territory is reached with ‘Carrolon’, that one can only envision Kansas at their best matching, it’s practically identical, minus the strange vocal effects at the three minute mark which are infuriating in their obnoxiousness yet intoxicating because of it! The most fluid guitar work of the album can be found here also.

‘Montage En’ Filigee’ is a mood swinging closer, symphonic again, peaceful and could lull a listener to sleep withe dreamlike atmospherics of the strings and harmonies.

In Summary

While this Fireballet album as a whole might have failed to endear itself to stalwarts of the genre, this is far from a letdown. It might have forced the band to disband, but what was created here was indeed compelling and a radical shift from the prog norms of the 70’s, particularly the vocal inventions that are eye raising and could only have been the result of the 70’s.

In reality this was a unique approach that was all Fireballet’s own and that they are still mentioned many years later means they achieved some degree of cult status. On its own merits ‘Two, too…’ succeeds, and if the debut can be tracked down I’ll discover myself if this is as good as critics say it is.


Entire Album (Select Tracks)

Playlist: Two, Too
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