Saturday, April 2, 2011

Album Review: Fireworks - Bonfires EP

The pop-punk genre is one of the most over-saturated crap pools of music, to be honest. Day after day I’m exposed to bands with no passion in their voices. No sincerity in their average guitar riffs. No audible bass playing whatsoever. And yes, how could one forget the overly simplistic drum playing that plagues this genre? I often end up wondering if the drummer is playing with stale Olive Garden breadsticks rather than slim pieces of wood. So, naturally, given my hatred for so many new bands in this genre (although I still like a good deal of them) I get all giddy when a pop-punk album comes out that gives me the impression that the band is, well, actually trying to be a legitimate asset to the music community. My giddiness right now is heavily attributed to not only the fact that it’s finally spring, but the fact that I have plummeted into a deep love affair with the newest Fireworks EP, entitled Bonfires.

See, I’ve had this EP for awhile, yet only recently have I discovered just how masterful it is. The absolutely stunning opener, “I Grew Up In a Legion Hall”, is a jaw-dropping representation of how well Fireworks can convey feeling into a song. The lyrics are clever and almost perfectly accompany the brilliant musicianship. At the midway mark, everything boils down while Dave Mackinder sings “You will always have my attention/It’s something I don’t even have to think about any more”. The background vocals, exhibiting a soft humming of “OOO” add so much to the atmosphere, and it gives off the vibe of a, well, a bonfire. This song itself is set to be a surefire classic over the years, and is in my opinion the greatest song Fireworks has written thus far. The song transitions into the slower, campfire-esque (they really nailed it on the head with the name of this EP) song, “Five Years”. Over a Hawaiian style guitar strumming pattern, the vocals soar with gallons of hope, almost contrasting with the lyrics “I follow the signs to dead ends every time/for reasons you refuse to understand/There’s no gleam in the future, just a shadow of doubt/But you take my hand and we walk so proud”. The minute and half transitional song concludes with a beautiful guitar solo and a slow outro, repeating the lyrics from the beginning.

The 3rd and final song on this incredible release is the pulse pounding “Like Ships In The Night”, which again has extremely well crafted lyrics and memorable riffs. The opening notes, coupled with the bombastic drumming patterns are enough to let any newcomer know what Fireworks is all about. In one of the best choruses I’ve heard this year, Mackinder sings “What matters most/Is how well you can/Walk through the war that’s inside of your head/I can’t stop this war inside my head”. The song perfectly closes out the EP on an optimistic note, and begs the listener to hit the replay button and indulge in it many more times. With Fireworks releasing a new LP in late May, this serves perfectly to tide anyone over until then.

1. I Grew Up In A Legion Hall
2. Five Years
3. Like Ships In The Night

Star Rating: 5 out of 5

You can buy the album here.

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