by Noah Cain
Like other great love songs, “I’ll Set the Fire,” the new single from Amos the Kid, makes you want to feel loved like that. It features frontman Amos Nadlersmith at his most intimate, quiet, and loving.
Nadlersmith’s great skill as a songwriter is capturing the depth of experiences that are simple on the surface. In his previous work, these moments have predominantly been related to motion. Take, for example, “What Did You Do?” where he captures the experience of walking around after a half dozen too many —“Homeward bound, cellphone sound, legs on, legs on, legs on ground”— or his other great love song “Alright,” which captures the numbed longing that can only be felt on the dance floor of a club in the middle of a depressive low: “my feet are moving in a sequence, the moon is rising in the evening, and I’m alright, that’s how I’m feeling.”
In contrast, “I’ll Set the Fire” invites us into a moment of stillness. A pair of searching lovers watch a campfire as they hold one another and drift toward sleep. Reflecting the stillness of the action, the love captured here is stabler and gentler than the romantic desire at the center of most love songs; “Here you can rest, I’ll watch the dark, I’ll hold you close, I’ll hold you in my arms.” In the stillness, Nadlersmith gives us glimpses of the shared experiences that are the foundation of that benevolence: “Catching currents splashing, fields of green in pattern, landscape hills are scattered in my head.” In the end, the ultimate comfort is in the breath of the beloved: “I can hear you breathing now,” the song repeats. While predominantly about romantic love, “I’ll Set the Fire” also evokes the love that can be felt for a sibling, friend, or parent.
With its pared-back, acoustic guitar-led production and almost whispered vocal performance, sung as if to avoid disturbing the quiet of the night beyond the firelight, “I’ll Set the Fire” is a campfire song in the best way. It is a step forward for Amos the Kid, who just re-signed with Winnipeg label House of Wonders, and should provide listeners with a sense of excitement for his next project.