Written by: PP on 19/05/2011 03:30:20

Fireworks have been on many bands to watch in 2011 lists, and not without reason. Their 2009 debut "All I Have To Offer Is My Own Confusion" was a brilliant rendition of old school raw pop punk in the vein of the first couple of New Found Glory records, full of bright and up-tempo songs which refused to leave before your mood was where it should be on a warm, sunny summer day: sky-high. To get their fans excited for their sophomore album, "Gospel", they released a teaser EP called "Bonfires" late last year, but it turns out the purpose of that release was something completely different: they had four superb pop-hardcore oriented tracks yearning for release, but which wouldn't have fit well on "Gospel" because of their aggressive sound.

That's because on their new album, Fireworks have undergone somewhat of a transformation, one that bears close resemblance to the one that happened to Fall Out Boy in between "Take This To Your Grave" and "From Under The Cork Tree". The down-to-earth, laid-back mood and the pop hardcore parts have been largely dropped in favour of a far more polished and fine-tuned sound. The songs are ever more brighter, but also noticeably poppier in the reaching-for-mainstream-superstardom sort of way. Vocalist David Mackinder continues his climb towards Patrick Stump inspired heights, hitting the high notes pitch perfect and delivering his parts with the flair and charm of an up-and-coming star.

Luckily, it hasn't come at the cost of the uplifting moods and the summery atmospheres that have always characterized Fireworks' sound. And though the majority of the record is slower and features more predictable pop punk than has been the case in the past, they haven't forgotten the fans of their first album with the inclusion of tracks like "I Was Born In The Dark", which opens with a ripping lead hook in hyper speed in the vein of With The Punches.

"Gospel" is actually surprisingly easy to sum up: they have a couple of fast tracks in the vein of With The Punches, about half a record's worth of New Found Glory style nasally sung summer pop punkers, and lots of Patrick Stump worship from "From Under The Cork Tree" era of Fall Out Boy occupying the rest. It's a more polished style which reduces the smash hit impact of the debut in a way, but it also ensures that Fireworks will keep growing as a band. In the end, "Gospel" is a record that, to this scribe, feels and sounds like one where the band are trying to follow a similar career path as Fall Out Boy did. By record three we'll know whether I'm right or not.


Download: I Was Born In The Dark, Life Is Killing Me, Paintings Of Paul Revere
For the fans of: New Found Glory, older Fall Out Boy
Listen: Myspace

Release date 24.05.2011
Triple Crown Records

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