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).
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