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Fireworks
All I Have To Offer Is My Own Confusion
Triple Crown Records
www.triplecrownrecords.com


When today's generation of music enthusiasts refers to "old school punk", most times they aren't talking about bands like The Ramones or The Clash. Surprisingly enough, when "punk" is mentioned like that, it's generally leaning more towards the style of music birthed a few decades after, about the mid '90s. It was in this decade that another word was added: "pop." And thus a movement began that is still going strong today.

The most recent addition to this movement is a band out of Michigan called Fireworks. Now seeing as how fireworks are my absolute favorite thing about summer, naturally I had high hopes for this band and their newest album All I Have To Offer Is My Own Confusion. Following their EP We Are Everywhere, they needed a good solid full-length to really get things started.

The album begins with "Geography, Vonnegut And Me" which took me a few listens to really grasp the awesome lyrics used. "Father time is a blurred bird in disguise/who made his way to my shoulder/it's weighing me down." For a song that's so fast you think you're just going to pass out, one doesn't expect deep lyrics like that. This song seems to start the fairly generic feel to the album; an upbeat/slightly insane tempo, laced with lead guitar notched high and drums that, though prominent at times, pretty much keep to the same book with the rest of the band. "2923 Monroe St" manages to throw a bit of a different spin on the main album feeling. Finally we take a breather and everything takes a step back and downward in tone. Don't get me wrong, the song is still upbeat and could easily get a crowd bouncing around, especially with the melodic chorus that would be an effortless singalong, although in general, this song is a tad slower and somewhat heavier (thank goodness). When you mosey on down to songs like "You've Lost Your Charm" and "Again And Again" you're finally introduced to a different side of this predominately pop-punk band. "You've Lost Your Charm" is nearly emo in fact, with the emotion filled themes and the emphasized vocals to match. It feels as though the guitar/bass were pushed to the back a bit, to allow for all ears to be focused. Then with "Again And Again" we take a completely different step, this time more in the direction of a rock persuasion. We're slowed down much more and the guitar strums out with such power that your head is unable to avoid the banging. With the slight variations, I believe these last two could be the best on the album.

With the obvious comparison to another pop-punk band by the name of New Found Glory, it's easy to write these guys off as "just another." True, the variety is lacking and the tempo doesn't really change, but there's definite talent in this group as shown in their amazing lyrics, radio-perfect songs and hooks that will bounce around in your head for days. It's rare that every sophomore album goes gold, which makes this the perfect [full] introduction for the band. And it's not a bad thing to be compared so often to large bands like NFG. Because this is "old-school," so it's not only New Found Glory, but A New Found Glory (for the true fans).

-Rachel Fredrickson

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Mike Doughty



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