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Album Review: Fireworks - Gospel

I’m going to let you into a secret: pop-punk in 2011 isn’t doing it for me. Something that I should logically be enthused by (the revitalisation of my favourite teenage genre) has left me a little cold. So it was then, that when Fireworks’ new record 'Gospel' crossed my path, I approached this review with some trepidation. Quite aside from my own views, the band’s previous output is already hailed as classic by many and this, only their second full-length, has much to live up to.

No further dilly-dallying though, it’s an outstanding record. There’s a lyric in stand-out song ‘Summer’ that references classic 80s coming of age film Stand By Me: “...I wanna find dead bodies with my closest friends.” It seems to sum up everything that they stand for, everything that bands aim, but often try too hard to portray; camaraderie and making the best of shitty situations. Lyrically, the album is full of such knowing touches, always heartfelt and often nostalgic, but never cheesy.

Musically, they strike the perfect balance between punk sensibilities and the pop hooks that drive melodies. Opener ‘Arrows’ owes much to The Get Up Kids and second track ‘I Was Born In The Dark’ gives a firm nod to early New Found Glory. ‘X’s On Trees’ and ‘We’re Still Pioneers’ are similarly upbeat, energetic numbers with irresistible chorus hooks, alternatively ‘Teeth’ brings a charming, introspective note. ‘Oh, Why Can’t We Start Old And Get Younger’ would have pride of place on any Fall Out Boy record, while ‘Paintings Of Paul Revere’ and storming closer ‘The Wild Bunch’ ensure that the record ends as strongly as it began.

I try to steer clear of referencing other bands in reviews but pop-punk is, by its nature, derivative. What 'Gospel' represents is a how-to manual of the genre, a tour de force that proves no matter the criticisms, doing something well is worth doing. Fireworks have taken the field, shaken it up and, adding their own sincerity and ear for a melody, turned up what may well be many people’s album of the year.


'Gospel' by Fireworks is out on May 23rd on Banquet Records (UK) and 24th on Triple Crown Records (US).

Purchase 'Gospel' by Fireworks through Banquet Records here.

Fireworks on Facebook, Purevolume, MySpace, and Tumblr.

Nick Worpole

Alter The Press!