Fireworks - Gospel (Japanese Edition) 2011-pLAN9
Ice Grill$ Records / IG-011 / Japanese Edition / CD
MP3 / V0 (VBR) / Scene
'Gospel' is the sophomore release from the Detroit based indie/punk band Fireworks, and it's yet another positive stride for the band as they continue to shed their once tributary flair and morph into an earnest, unique pop-punk outfit. Remote traces of hardcore and skate-punk add a lift in tempo and increase brashness, while chunky power-pop muscle enhances amicable melodies. Frontman David Mackinder's voice has become a little less nasally and somewhat more wistful, and it gels with the band's refreshingly dynamic (and often dainty) guitars.
The twinkly restraint of opener "Arrows" and scrappy double-time in "I Was Born In the Dark" find the band showing off their newly versatile chops. Then the middle third of the record arrives, sporting classic pop chops reminiscent of recent Saves The Day, from the bassline of "Teeth" to the choppy opening chords of "Oh, Why Can't We Start Old & Get Younger," which seem to crib STD's "Bones." "Life Is Killing Me" transitions from fast tempos to punchy stop-starts effortlessly, while "I Am the Challenger" is a nice, though moodier, companion piece to The Wonder Years' "Hey Thanks." Closer "The Wild Bunch" takes simple joy in being part of a collectively weird group of friends, and it's simply endearing.
It becomes a little more apparent with every release that Fireworks don't necessarily wish to preach to the choir. Their improvement has been incremental from record to record, but this continual growth is something to be proud of as they delve deeper into greater depths and exploratory songwriting.
2. I Was Born In the Dark
3. X's On Trees
4. We're Still Pioneers
6. Oh, Why Can't We Start Old & Get Younger?
8. Life Is Killing Me
9. I Am the Challenger
10. Paintings of Paul Revere
11. I Locked My Time Capsule
12. The Wild Bunch
13. I Grew Up In A Legion Hall
14. Five Years
15. Like Ships In The Night