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8 out of 10
My supervisor at my day job told me that what I have just demonstrated (taking a word and finding another word for each letter in that word) is her only hobby. I remember being made to do this when I was eight years old at elementary school; I didn't like it much then and I don't find it particularly enthralling now. On the other hand The Bigger Light's "Fiction Fever" is quite unlike my boss's only hobby in that it is better than I expected it to be. Instead of being generic post Blink 182 Pop Punk their debut EP actually features an eclectic range of sounds. Some are a bit hit and miss but they never the less quite separate the group from their contemporaries.
"Closer (Time Stops Breathing)" begins with an unnecessarily happy riff that jumps into upbeat Pop Punk jubilation, complete with lyrics about secrets on cell phones. The choruses are floaty and super happy, while there is a brief break, allowing some space to open up in the song before it resumes its grinning onslaught. "Reved and Ready" is however a more interesting track, being brooding yet energetic and holding the same kind of dark quality of old school Offspring or Social Distortion, most prominently reminiscent me of Victory Record's Bayside. "Apocalypse" is another upbeat and largely forgettable tune that skirts just a bit too close to Sum 41's brand of bubble gum Pop Punk, complete with cheesy Metal solos that are almost embarrassing to listen to. This combined with the production techniques utilised makes it actually sound like The Darkness's "I Believe In A Thing Called Love", which is stylistically comparable to having incestuous relations with your own children who you have held captive in a cellar beneath your house for over a decade.
"Romance in a Slow Dance" is a gentler affair, starting out like a more spacey version of Fall Out Boy before breaking into power strummed choruses which contrast nicely with the cool and watery Stone Roses style lead riffs. "Goldmine Valentine" is a few letters away from a David Bowie song, yet begins as a haunting gypsy ballad reminiscent of Gogol Bordello, kicking into more familiar Pop Punk territory about a sinister femme fatale. "When Did We Lose Ourselves" has a more Indie feel, but ends the EP much how it begun in the familiar waters of Pop Punk, steering clear of the less well known depths that the others tracks slip a tentative toe into.
The Brighter Lights manage to steer clear of being too Emo (or 'Dawnson's Creek') Core and while not all of what they attempt on this record works out they deserve a listen if only for the fact they have been brave enough to make a Punk record that steps away from the well beaten track.
1. Closer (Time Stops Breathing)
2. Reved and Ready
4. Romance in a Slow Dance
5. Goldmine Valentine
6. When Did We Lose Ourselves