by Erik van Rheenen
There’s a terrific Latin turn of phrase that only really gets kicked around in art circles and eloquently worded textbooks, but frames the context of Fireworks’ post-Bonfires discography: chiaroscuro, defined loosely as the bold interplay of light and dark. While Gospel found Fireworks bright-eyed, optimistic, and battling a creeping sense of insecurity with sunny pop hooks and swashbuckling melodies that brimmed over with youthful joie de vivre, new album Oh, Common Life refracts the themes of its forerunner through a darker, more introspective lens.
No longer is this Dave Mackinder (and Co.) Versus the World — Oh, Common Life finds the Fireworks frontman grappling with his own internal demons. Instead of focusing the band’s sights on the “we’re all in this together” ethos that interwove the songs of Gospel, the energy of Oh, Common Life turns inward for an often-harrowing peek into where Mackinder’s mind roamed while penning the record.
The monster looming precariously close to the boy on Gospel’s cover swallows him whole on Oh, Common Life, and it’s made pretty damn obvious from the album’s opener, “Glowing Crosses.” The guitars that drive the song pack a moody punch, and the melody sparks with foreboding. It’s a long way off from “Arrows” and its bouncy call-to-arms that opened Gospel, but “Glowing Crosses” shines in both its maturity and songwriting — its hooks crisp, its chorus undeniable.
Fireworks are direct support for The Wonder Years on The Greatest Generation Tour this spring. Check out their set list from the tour below, taken from last night’s set in Lancaster, PA, after the jump.
Fireworks will be releasing Oh, Common Life via Triple Crown Records on March 25th. Pre-order the new album here and stream a new song called “Flies On Tape” here via Stereogum and listen to another track below after the jump.
February is here, and we’re continuing 2014 with a jam-packed month of releases that PropertyOfZack team members couldn’t be more stoked to hear. In today’s new Discussion, we’re highlighting our personal Most Anticipated March Releases. Check out our list below and feel free to reblog with what you’re looking forward to as well!
La Dispute - Rooms Of The House (03/18)
What is La Dispute? It’s hard to pin down a band that’s always changing, incorporating anything and everything into their special breed of emotionally-charged post-everything. Building on the experimental expansion of 2011’s Wildlife, the Michigan band worked with uber-producer Will Yip on Rooms of the House to push each sonic edge out a little bit further to the cusp of 80s and 90s college radio while still maintianing their trademark intensity. “Stay Happy There” is a bit Fugazi, a bit At The Drive-In, wrapped up in the sound of working through a cutting anxiety: “I will fix whatever is not the sweetness in your eyes, just sit down, please, sit down here at the table and we’ll talk. Somewhere televisions light up in the night.” Jordan Dreyer’s lyrics are only amplified by his exasperated delivery, the sound of a man emotionally drained and at the end of every rope he’s ever known. It’s the kind of music that helps someone through those late, lonely nights, catharsis defined through guitar strums and cymbal hits. Let it in. - Steve Ciccarelli
The Black Lips - Underneath the Rainbow (03/18)
The Black Lips, for more than a decade, has been a band that never does anything normal, and that includes selling a new record to the press. The Atlantaquartet’s upcoming seventh album, Underneath the Rainbow, has been described as “Elvis from the waist down,” which mostly harkens to the Tennessee setting in which the album was created, but also is a great example of the strange and misunderstood nature the group has cultivated in the public’s eyes.
After the polished but enriching sound of the Mark Ronson-produced Arabia Mountain, the band turned to another unexpected producer/fan in Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney to produce their latest. The writing process this time around came amidst a two-year touring cycle and the loss of several close friends, so much of the record is being described as reflective. As usual, it’s a smattering of different styles, including rock, blues, and even country jangles which fits greatly into the band’s unwillingness to be defined by a genre. Like any experience involving the Black Lips both on record and in a live setting it will no doubt be a wild ride for their fan base. - Jason Stives
Seahaven - Reverie Lagoon (03/25)
Remember a few years ago when Seahaven released their debut full-length packed with post-rock anthems for the frustrated young man in all of us? And how it was called Winter Forever and seemed to falter a little under the own weight of its self-imposed sadness? Well, their upcoming release this March has taken on a totally different direction even in just the title alone, baring for the world its intentions with the name Reverie Lagoon: Music for Escapism Only. And even though “Reverie Lagoon” sounds like the name of an isolated tropical retreat in a trashy romance novel, the shift in style might prove to be their strongest decision yet. “Silhouette (Latin Skin)” (both of the new record and the recent 7” of the same name) creeps in contemplative like a Deja Entendu era Brand New track, while “Flesh” cavorts as a casual alternative tune with some inflections of that Southern California beachiness of which I am both fond and jealous. So, while it’s yet to be seen if the record carries as much escapism promise as it claims to, I think we can all agree that we’re happy to be moving away from the unilateral bleakness of being in winter forever. - Adrienne Fisher
Fireworks - Oh, Common Life (03/25)
When it comes to Fireworks, I was a little late to the party. I didn’t get into the band until well after 2011’s Gospel, and I’ve never really forgiven myself for what I now refer to as ‘the lost years.’ However with this March comes the band’s new album, Oh, Common Life, and a chance for me to redeem myself for past mistakes.