The musical world of Fir Cone Children is a mixture of bittersweet joy and melancholy longing, all wrapped up in a dream punk/shoegaze swirl. Alexander Donat keeps Fir Cone Children as an output for light and life, where his other project Vlimmer works more in post-punk and Gothic shades.
While many struggled to hold it all together during 2020 with shutdowns and isolation, Donat wrote a follow-up to Fir Cone Children’s Fog Surrounds Us from 2019. Waterslide At 7 A.M. keeps the sunny disposition from previous albums, but there’s a decidedly more pensive feel to it. As Donat’s label Blackjack Illuminist explains, “While everyone is fed up with the pandemic coronavirus has steered us in, it has had a massive impact on artists, the music scene and the club culture in general. In all uncertainty, artists wrote (and still write) albums about their time in quarantine.“Waterslide At 7 A.M.” is one of them, however, it is different, as it focuses on what it feels like for children to grow up between the joys of life and the limitations COVID19 has brought with it.”
Blackjack Illuminist goes on explain the meaning behind the title of the record as well. “As much as the album’s title, “Waterslide At 7 A.M.”, stands for an allegory of 2020, it does refer to an actual moment. Donat’s then 6-year old kid had to perform a song she wrote with her father for a videoclip that was made for a popular holiday parks brand in Europe. They had to meet at 7 A.M. in a waterpark before it officially opened to the visitors and the child was overwhelmed by the situation, dancing in a bathing suit, knee-deep in a swimming pool with cameras around you.”
Waterslide At 7 A.M. works on many levels, and opening track “Panic in The Mansion” is a perfect way to enter the album’s atmosphere. Tinkling piano opens the track which then leads into a frenetic rhythm and woozy guitar and synths. There’s a playful innocence with this track that is reminiscent of DIIV’s brand of shoegaze and Wild Nothing’s dream pop eloquence, but with Donat’s sort of caffeinated excitement that pushes the song along. His stacks of vocal melodies add a sort of “Beach Boys in space” vibe.
Donat explains the meaning behind the track. “‘Panic in The Mansion’ is a board game developed by Danish game designers. My children and I love the game a lot (my wife not so much, haha).” Donat continues, “The song is about the wooden and plastic game pieces (ghosts, eyeballs, snakes, treasure chests, spiders etc.) which you move through a cardboard house and which might be responsible for my 7-year old daughter’s nightmares. We bought her a dreamcatcher hoping that it might help her. It didn’t back then. Luckily, she’s able to sleep these days.”
The world is still topsy-turvy, even after months of lockdowns and mask mandates. Some have nightmares about the sickness and where we’ll be in a year with all of this going on. Some have nightmares about board games, ghosts, eyeballs, and spiders. Both are relevant. With “Panic in The Mansion” at least we can turn strange objects into a gorgeous and engaging pop song.
Waterslide At 7 A.M. will be released on 10/30 via Blackjack Illuminist Records. Listen to opening track “Panic in The Mansion” below, then follow Blackjack Illuminist for preorder info.