Fireworks - Bonfires EP
Release Date: December 9, 2010
Record Label: Triple Crown Records
Fireworks made a splash in 2009 with its first full length, All I Have to Offer Is My Own Confusion. That was a hell of a record, and now, almost at the close of 2010, we get more from this band in the form of the Bonfires EP. What we have here is four songs from the group, essentially a teaser for their follow-up to AIHTOIMOC, due out in 2011.
While fans are itching for that new LP, the release of Bonfires has proven so far to be a successful move for Fireworks. With three brand new songs plus the inclusion of "Seasick", a bonus track on All I Have to Offer, the band gives fans a taste of what's to come without spoiling their appetite. In this day and age where music fans are, for the most part, extremely impatient and easily distracted, it's important for most bands to release new music every year to make sure that everyone remembers that they exist.
While All I Have to Offer still receives regular attention from me, this new EP has already given Fireworks a boost in my daily rotation. Bonfires starts off with "I Grew Up In A Legion Hall", showcasing the sound that the band established with that great full length. Dave Mackinder's nasally vocals are again a focal point, complemented by a quality guitar work from Brett Jones and Chris Mojan.
The band is at its best when it is going all out, with Mackinder yelping personal lyrics into the microphone. But one of the things that makes this band stand out considerably from the rest of the pop punk groups today is its ability to slow things down just a bit, playing with a little more thoughtful instrumentals and very deliberate vocals. "I Grew Up In A Legion Hall" shows that ability a bit, but "Five Years" is a much better example. A short song, "Five Years" plays out as something of a poem accompanied by a soft guitar at first before the song picks up slightly. Mackinder sings softly, "I follow the signs, dead ends every time / For reasons you refuse to understand / There's no gleam in the future, just a shadow of doubt / But you take my hand and we walk so proud." It's a song like this one where Fireworks demands your attention and shows you the true potential of its next full length.
Things pick up again with "Like Ships In the Night" as the band uses a catchy hook in the chorus to carry a song that will soon become a fan favorite at live shows. Like I said, this group is at its best when it is going as fast as it can, and "Seasick" is a testament to that. Those who purchased a physical copy of All I Have to Offer heard this song as a bonus track at the end of that record. It fits in as well at the end of this EP as it fit at the end of that album, showing that while Fireworks is progressing, it is still the same band at its core.
Bonfires is an excellent release for this group. They continue to do no wrong and play their cards right while taking their time with their ever-important sophomore record. This EP was just what fans needed: a little dash of the sound that they already knew mixed in with hints at something new. Put Fireworks on your list of bands to keep an eye on in 2011, as it's going to be a memorable year for the Detroit natives.