Fireworks - Gospel (Cover Artwork)


Gospel (2011)

Triple Crown

Alright, first of all, I wanted to review this record because I know no one else would have the guts to do it. Honestly it's a guilty pleasure of mine. Looking at Fireworks' older recordings, it is considerably poppier than any of them. The production is top notch, which is also part of its downside. The poppy isn't so bad, (Think: Man Overboard), but some of Dave McKinder's vocal deliveries are just obnoxious. The band has definitely progressed as far as their sound goes, but in my opinion, not necessarily in the right direction in some spots. Still, after a few listens, there are strokes of individuality in the pop-punk genre.

Gospel begins with the best track, "Arrows." Initially you can notice the progression the band has made in their songwriting style and delivery. The lyrics are cliché as usual, but it's pop-punk, and Fireworks are good at it. McKinder's sense of melody and overall improved vocals shine in the refrain.

The second song, "I Was Born In The Dark," has a drum beat and chord progression that downright sounds like Shook Ones, but McKinder and the production again add their poppy touch. This is an example of the direction I think Fireworks should have gone from All I Have to Offer is My Own Confusion. It really begins the record nicely, these two songs. "Arrows" is a poppy number, and "Dark" is fast and hardcore-influenced. The combination of the two sounds sums of the record essentially.

A few songs that I dislike as of now: "We're Still Pioneers" opens and I immediately want to skip the trackbecause of the annoying nasally melody. It's almost painful to get through. The main riff in "I Sealed My Time Capsule" honestly sounds like a bad Motion City Soundtrack ripoff. The attempt at an acoustic ballad does not work in their favor with "I Am The Challenger"

McKinder does become obnoxious in other parts of the record, but in others he truly establishes his sense of melody and his vocal approach is top notch. He is a talented singer and he should let go of the New Found Glory and work more on the Starting Line/the Wonder Years.

Another theme I recognize from the record is the sense of melody itself. It is reminiscent of soul (particularly the vocals) and maybe even emo/indie in some areas, especially with the riffs in "Wild Bunch" and "Oh, Why Can't We Start Old," and the beginning of "Arrows." McKinder's lyrics of growing "older" get old itself mighty fast. Enjoy life and stop complaining, is what I say. Find something else to write about than nostalgia and aging. Maybe Fireworks will find their place among this decade's post-hardcore/pop-punk bands. They may become a band as deserving as opening for Hot Water Music as Hostage Calm and Make Do And Mend, but currently they can't compare to those two.