In nine minutes and 21 seconds, Fireworks exhaust pretty much every pop-punk cliché imaginable, and it's hands-down spectacular.
Opening track, "Dave Mackinder vs. the World" stutters to a start before bursting into full-blown Fall Out Boy aping, with squealing guitars and squealing voices providing a backing for faux-hardcore riffs. The lyrics might be about girls, or they might be about being positive -- maybe both. It's not really that important once the gang vocals kick in.
Track two, the puntastic "Heart-a-Tact" is a faster number with even more gang vocals and aspirations of being Set Your Goals, giving away to a catchy breakdown with chugging guitars and jittery stop-start vocals. It is easily the highlight of the EP. [I really couldn't decide what to do with this paragraph at first, but ultimately left it as it was submitted (minus a comma deletion and capitalization fix). I'm sure the commenters will handle this for you kindly, wearestillalive... - Ed.]
"Decline of a Midwestern Civilization" opens with a recording of people talking in the background -- it sounds like they're in a restaurant or something -- and the emotional onslaught of one guitar and one voice singing about something sad that it's hard to care about. Then the gang vocals start and the drums kick in and the song builds and builds, getting more and more positive because, hey, when your hooks are this catchy, it's hard to stay depressed, right?
Finally, "Show Me Your Vanishing Act One More Time" is another attempt to match a hardcore drumbeat with pop-punk hooks, and the age old message to "LIVE! / Live for yourSELF! / Nobody else! / And fuck what they sell!"
To fault this album for being completely unoriginal, soulless and simplistic, or for riding a trend into the ground, is to kind of miss the point of it. It's straight-up fun for 10 minutes or less, a pure shot of sugar to the veins. If you like modern pop-punk at all then there will probably be something on this EP that appeals to you, that will make you smile or nod your head, or make you put it on in the background a couple of days later whilst you're trying to find another record to listen to.
And they actually do all the clichés WELL, would you believe? They're a pretty tight band, endlessley better than You Me at 6, Forever the Sickest Kids and the like. Give it a chance.