There Will Be Fireworks - Self Titled
Record Label: the imaginary kind
Release Date: July 1, 2009
How did we, as a community, miss this release? There Will Be Fireworks is more of a statement of intent than a band name. The story behind this Glaswegian bands name is best described as a drunken chance. “One night we’d all been round at a friend’s house and woke up the next day with ‘There Will Be Fireworks’ in our phone inboxes,” according to singer and guitarist Nicky McManus. “We’d been struggling to think of a name so we just went with it. There’s probably a meaning behind it that the beer haze of that night has since erased, but it eludes us.”
The potential of this band is seen from the get go. While it needs to be noted there is a proper name under the record label section above, it's worth noting that this band is about as DIY as they come, but with one listen you'd never imagine it. The opening track, "Columbian Fireworks", is a spoken word piece by author Kevin MacNeil, a fan of the band, who wrote this piece specifically for this song. MacNeil recites the line, "...for there will be fireworks, and they will light up your eyes and you will feel more alive than ever before." all over a symphony of sound comprised by the band that can only be described as a arrangement you might hear from bands like This Will Destroy You or Explosions In The Sky towards the latter part of one of their long and epic songs.
We are then welcomed into the sound of There Will Be Fireworks with the soft and sleepy track "So The Story Goes". The thing that most stands out about this track is the appearance of Nicky McManus voice. Knowing that this is a Scottish band, you expect an accent, but to hear an accent this thick is something special, something that caught me off guard, and something very much welcomed. Over time, it becomes clear that McManus' voice is something special, and is a perfect fit for this band and their sound, similar to the way that fellow Glaswegian band Twin Atlantic is with the pipes of Sam McTrusty. "Midfield Maestro" is where the band shows their true talent and true sound for the very first time, and we come to learn that McManus writes about heartbreak as if his heart is under a microscope. It is a hauntingly beautiful song that starts with a simple tone, but implodes into a wall of sound and leaves the listener enthralled and intrigued to figure out what is next. "Guising" is a simple track barely over a minute in time that is there more to lend itself to the follow up track 'Off With Their Heads', which might be one of the strongest songs on the disc. The beginning starts with a "I-want-to-punch-something' mentality and doesn't die. The song from start to finish is intense and shows the 'post-hardcore' side of this band with the heavy flow, the faint sound of screaming in the chorus, and the one and a half minute breakdown to close the song.
As the disc continues to flow perfectly from one song to the next, each song being perfectly set up by the previous, we continue to hear the haunting beautiful sound that There Will Be Fireworks displays. Quite possibly the most hauntingly beautiful piece of work on this disc is the piano led track "Headlights". The guitar in this song is very distinct, and the hum of words streaming underneath MacNeil's vocals is none other than their guitar playing, Gibran, singing wordlessly with the reverb turned backwards, providing the haunting ghost-like sound at times. McManus describes it as, "...we recorded him singing gibberish, reversed the gibberish, put some hefty reverb on it, then put the gibberish back the right way round." "We Were a Roman Candle" is a song that's surrounded in angst and is a caution to everyone who has been in loved but been burned. We get to hear the bands screaming side again, as the last half of the song showcases McManus screaming the chorus over and over. The last real gem on the album comes with, to date, their most well known song, "Foreign Thoughts". "This is the poppiest moment on the album which is a bit paradoxical because of the weird instrumentation." McManus states. "David plays a non-bassy bass part, using a slide and a since-deceased delay pedal. Gibran used a really old, really cheap Yamaha keyboard played through a guitar amp. This is the one I'm most proud of lyrically – it's basically a stream of consciousness but I like the scansion and the flow."
All in all, this disc is something special. Over the year and half i've had the privilege of listening to it, it's been one of the staples in my CD player and on my iTunes. With a good Scottish following being built up, critical praise in the UK for this release, and a record soon to be out in 2011, all this band has left to do to prove themselves is to become a staple in the vast record collection of Americans who love bands like The Appleseed Cast, Twin Atlantic, and You Me At Six.
There Will Be Fireworks is comprised of Nicholas McManus (VOX/Guitar), Gibran Farrah (Guitar), David Madden (Bass), Adam Ketterer (Drums)