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7 out of 10
I couldn’t really have received a promo for a band called Fireworks at a worse time of year, most attempts at a little research were thwarted by fireworks of the explosive kind. The name suggests aggression, which turns out to be half true, there is an undercurrent of hardcore in the bands predominantly pop-punk sound. It’s a cross between Hit The Lights and Four Year Strong, or New Found Glory circa 2009. The New Found Glory comparison is unavoidable, for a start, the record is produced by Chad Gilbert, but some of the songs are so similar that you find yourself wondering if this is another of the band’s side projects.
The record gets off to a good start; ’Geography’ has a choppy, hardcore intro which belies the melodic nature of the song. It continues in this vein, infectious pop-punk tunes punctuated with the odd dose of chugging guitars, a formula which was fresh a year or two ago but is fast becoming the norm in the genre. ’Closet Weather’ is a bouncy gem, sounding like Hit The Lights at their best and the gang vocals that pop up in this and a few of the songs sound great. ’Holiday’ and ’I Support Same Sex Marriage’ remind you of how unoriginal the album is, sounding like songs rejected from ’Not Without A Fight’, New Found Glory’s album from earlier in the year. Whilst it would be unfair to expect Fireworks to be pioneers, it shouldn’t be too much to ask for a few songs that don’t seem instantly recognisable on first listen.
One further criticism would be that it can get a bit samey, however, that becomes less of a problem when the quality is good, it also means it’s very easy to revisit in small chunks. ’Show me your vanishing act . . ’ is a brash punk thrash, but at under a minute long it fails to fully satisfy the desire for something different. There’s nothing more frustrating than a promising album running out of steam, fortunately this ends with a few of the better tracks (’Again and Again’, ’Detroit’) from what is, lest we forget, the bands debut album.
Hassle are a record label fast becoming synonymous with great bands (Alexisonfire, Thursday and Cancer Bats all have released through the label) and they could be onto another with Fireworks. However, they need to find and develop their own sound or they’ll forever live in the shadow of the bands their sound mimics. It should be interesting to see how they fare on their forthcoming tour alongside Set Your Goals, if only to see if the there is any truth in the rumour that the bassist has a prosthetic thumb, or whether it’s another wiki-hoax.
1. Geography, Vonnegut And Me
2. Come Around
3. Closet Weather
4. 2923 Monroe St.
6. I Support Same Sex Marriage
7. Show Me Your Vanishing Act One More Time
8. You’ve Lost Your Charm
9. Again and Again
11. When We Stand on Each Other We Block Out the Sun