Spires - Flowers and Fireworks [12 inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Flowers and Fireworks [12 inch] (2009)


Spires' Flowers and Fireworks is sorta titled like a bad MP3.com-era pop-punk album, yet it's offering something far, far from. This album is thankfully along the lines of building and burning -- sometimes Envy-style -- "hardcore," but with less sparkle and a lot more meat-and-potatoes grit in the instrumental department.

With gruelingly hoarse but scratchy vocals and a methodical sense of how every instrument fits together, the first half of this album reminds me a bit of Pyramids, but with less of that knack for exploring more post-rock-leaning territory and mind-fucking on-a-dime changes. Opener "Shores" is very much in this vein, while "Whoring the Fields" opens with about a minute of more frantic, flailing material before cleanly rearing back for a more thoughtful approach. It could be a bit more impressive, but it's not at all jarring and the transition is simply seamless.

Makin' significant, less ordinary changes (for the style) is something the band does try every so often here, though. "Flames for the Strays" utilizes a number of guitar tones, from the most aggressive and sharp-cutting edges the album employs to the plain creepy plucks later on. "Mermaid Harpoon / Warmest Regards" has a muted, bluesy/folk conclusion, even. The second half further breaks away with the fierce and just generally heavier "Man or Mother."

Maybe what I'm trying to say is that Flowers and Fireworks unconventionally conventional. Or maybe vice versa. Either way, it's quite a good listen.

Whoring the Fields

Through a Cold White Beard
Flames for the Strays
Scraped from the Bones