POZ Review: Stickup Kid - Future Fire
The first half of 2013 was inundated with great releases from bands like Fall Out Boy, Man Overboard, and The Wonder Years. Basically, lots of big names releasing big albums, and I’ve been wondering if the next six months could possibly measure up.
Cue Stickup Kid and their new album, Future Fire.
Admittedly, I’ve never listened to Stickup Kid before, despite hearing quite a bit about them. I went into this album with no expectations, and walked away with a new favorite. Future Fire is eleven fearless pop punk songs that are sure to catch on like wildfire.
It’s hard to pinpoint one specific thing that makes this album so exceptional. In “The Depths Of Me,” it’s the guitar that takes center stage. It charges in at a blistering pace, with crunchy chords that break through the chorus like a crashing wave (“I’ve been broken / So many times I’m scared I won’t get up again / If I’m open like the ocean / You’ll drown before you ever reach the depths of me”).
Water is a common motif for the album, also appearing on songs like “What’s Missing” and “Chariot.” The former features a bouncier chorus, in which lead singer Tony Geravesh admits: “I spend my time wasting away / Wasting away / We’re broken / We’ll sink like stones inside the bay / inside the bay.”
“Chariot” is more aggressive, entering with a burst of unexpected energy. It rages on relentlessly as Geravesh wistfully sings, “I am the ocean / A deeply divided soul / you are the anchor that sinks me like a stone / the feelings are lost in the pull of an undertow.”
Much of Future Fire is bold and brash, but balances out with quietly intimate moments that arrive when you least expect them. Opening track “Lost” is empty and meandering, with vocal harmonies ringing out over forlorn guitars, before slowly building into a roar of drums and pulsating chords. The bridge in “The Depths of Me” is spacious and open: its flickering guitar melody provides a hushed reprieve in an otherwise aggressive track.
Meanwhile, “Keeping My Distance” provides a pensive moment as Geravesh appreciates the fact that, “When the world’s on fire / I’m safe behind this window.” And “Gotten Away” opens with nothing but distant drums getting steadily louder until they carry the track through hazy guitars.
“This Is Over,” despite its claustrophobic intro, ends up being one of the catchiest and most invigorating songs on the album. Cameron MacBain’s drumming dances along, creating an energetic and upbeat track about moving on from the “nervous nights and shitty flights and cities bound in gray.” The song culminates in a salacious guitar solo and the declaration that “this is over / I’m through with being alone with just my memories / A wound without a remedy.” “This Is Over” could easily become the next pop punk kid’s anthem for dealing with all the things they’d rather not face.
With so many notable albums to compete with, it’s easy to see how smaller bands could end up falling by the wayside. But I think Future Fire will be able to hold its own. I may not have been a fan of Stickup Kid before, but I am now, and I don’t think I’ll be the only one.
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