Fireworks / Gospel / Triple Crown Records
It’s difficult to forget those days where pop punk selections like Say It Like You Mean It and Chroma ruled jam session breaks and chill time in the bedroom. Few reminders have popped up since then and Fireworks’ second full-length attempt, Gospel, is one of them. Its straightforward thought process avoids being bland, throwing in heart-strung raging hooks with rejuvenating guitar work, enough to keep one’s attention intact and deter the Michigan pop punkers from tackling a synth. Frontman David Mackinder’s somewhat nasally tone features enough control to sway you away from Gospel’s dozen tracks, but he takes command at times, making a pensive croon (“I Am The Challenger”) grasp a reflective side without becoming sappy in a lyrical way.
The relatable language such as “I wear f*cked on my sleeve / I hate what I can’t change” (“Life Is Killing Me”) hits home, but not as hard as Fireworks’ versatile persona. “Xs On Trees” modestly flexes a pop lick and a bite-size solo – adding to the record’s vivacious spirit that sweetens “We’re Still Pioneers” and “Arrows” – until the punk vein pops. Gospel does limp without a clear-cut hit and rarely lets that cripple its appeal. The skate-punk riffs opening “I Locked My Time Capsule” and invading the sincerity of “I Was Born In The Dark”‘ will have you drumming on any surface until a finger’s broken. A sign of a vast leap forward for Fireworks and a pain listeners will endure with a smile on their face.
Download: “I Locked My Time Capsule”, “Arrows”
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