Like M.I.A.’s Kala or The Bug’s London Zoo, it’s hard to imagine Fires in the Park’s particular blend of global influences being forged in any
city other than the UK capital. The debut from the trio of Joshua Idehen (vocals), Theo Buckingham (drums) and Tom Leaper (sax/synths/samples) is an
impressively distinctive fusion of hip-hop, dancehall, jazz, dubstep and drum n’ bass; a mixture at its most effective on the kwaito-driven bounce
and clatter of Faithless.
Elsewhere, Idehen’s sense of urban angst dominates the tone of the record, which is awash with vaguely threatening bass rumblings, portentous sax
stabs and lurching, staccato rhythms. While these attempts to generate a sense of dystopian drama sometimes misfire (see the lumbering dub of
Pencils), the sheer breadth of genres drawn upon ensures that Fires never feels tired or repetitive. For all of their influences, Benin City also
maintain a remarkable sense of cohesion.