Fireworks - All I Have to Offer Is My Own Confusion (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


All I Have to Offer Is My Own Confusion (2009)

Triple Crown

It was easy to write Fireworks' early material off for too poorly mimicking New Found Glory and its worst moments of nasal congestion. Hell, with vocalist Dave Mackinder often sounding like Jordan Pundik and this album featuring Chad Gilbert's production, it might be easy to do the same with All I Have to Offer Is My Own Confusion. But a few listens over reveal a band desperate to escape pigeonholing and establish its own identity, and managing to find some success in the process.

At first, you expect heapings of Midwest dreariness and haziness with Confusion's rather Devil and God-esque cover, and it isn't really apparent on the album's first few rotations. But moments of lyrical brilliance juxtapose youthful stuntedness in opener "Geography, Vonnegut and Me": "Father Time is a blurred bird in disguise / who made his way to my shoulder. / It's weighing me down. / It makes me grow older. / I wish it would all just stop." It's just the beginning to an album that flows with a particularly gradual feel and sporadic bits of subtle shifts and thoughtfulness for its 33 minutes, with some varied textures and brief areas of warmer air. The band appears to prefer a mid-tempo feel, but it's okay since it seems to work and gang vocal application actually ends up fun and fitting. Those jolts of energy are great and nicely placed too, though, with something like the late entry "Detroit" and its spazzy sing-along factor.

Granted, Confusion does sound an awful lot like New Found Glory in spots, whether in the riffs, general tone or the way the melody arcs in Mackinder's voice (I mean, crap, listen to that chorus in "Holiday"). With Gilbert providing some vocal and guitar assistance, one supposes it shouldn't be terribly shocking. The opening of "Closet Weather" actually sounds scarily close to the Fray's "Over My Head (Cable Car)." Otherwise, the songs are catchy and enjoyable enough to overcome instances like this...for the most part.

All I Have to Offer Is My Own Confusion actually comes off fairly clear-headed despite its quiet touches of cloudiness and creativity. It definitely exceeds the band's previous stuff, and one hopes that Fireworks will cook up a Deja Entendu to follow their Favorite Weapon.

Geography, Vonnegut and Me