August Premier - Fireworks and Alcohol (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

August Premier

Fireworks and Alcohol (2003)

Fueled By Ramen

Another up-and-comer from Chicagoland, and another pop punk band to add to the list. These guys have the hooks, and a little bit more punch and rawness behind them than most of the pack. This is evident with the first track "Bakersong," on the punker side of pop punk, with it's fast-chugging palm muted guitars and fast drum fills, followed by a "fuck this" smack dab in the pause to start the breakdown chorus. They go a little overboard with that bad ass thing though, like in "Fisticuffs" with the lyrics "Where the fuck did you go? / Motherfucker god dammit / How the fuck have you been? / See you later / Don't you never ever come around here again." The album title turns me off too, but oh well.

Vocals on the CD are melodic of course, but sometimes vocalist Chris puts a little harshness behind the words, which is always a nice change. There is no overdone harmonizing of the vocals, which is good because that can be nauseating; the preferred background "woahs" replace them. August Premier falls a little short of labelmates Fall Out Boy in the melody department- while they are good, they are not as addictive as those by FOB. But if addictive poppy melodies are not quite your cup o'tea, maybe these guys are rough enough to please you.

A couple favorites would be "The Other Side of Town" with its half-time chorus and frequent triplet hits, and "Dear Chicago," the on-the-road song that seems cheesy at first, but grabs you more with each listen. Another standout is "Fall," with impressive drumming, including a section with bongos (I'm pretty sure, but the liner notes said nothing about any other percussion), followed by a section with some fancy ride bell work. On a side note, the lyrics "Everything we know is wrong" made me laugh because it reminded me of Marble Madness for Nintendo. Ahh, the Silly Level.

The only weaknesses would be my standard statement for bands like this: it is not incredibly original. Nevertheless, the album is a good effort and look for them to build on it, hopefully they play up the raw angle a little more separate themselves from the masses. So add another to the list of Chicago pop punk bands, but take note if the rest are too cleaned up for you- these bad boys may be just what you're looking for.