Fireworks

The life of a touring musician isn't always all it's cracked up to be. The endless miles separating one from friends, family and a warm bed, and the alienation that rift creates, becomes a trial of endurance that quickly disintegrates all but the truly dedicated. For Fireworks, the answer is to find strength together, as one; five friends creating music, and in the end, their own brand of Gospel.Thus Gospel, the Detroit-based quintet's second full-length and follow-up to 2009's All I Have To Offer Is My Own Confusion, finds the band at a crucial crossroads, both creatively and personally. Their rookie growing pains behind them, on the new record the band penned their most powerful and captivating music to date, orbiting a central theme of inspiration amid sacrifice. Fortunately it only takes a matter of seconds to hear that the group's efforts have hardly been in vain. "This record just makes so much more sense with us, and I think it shows," says guitarist and frequent lyricist Chris Mojan. "We basically all went into the studio and fed off each other. I think once people hear this record, they'll be like, 'This is the record I expected you guys to put out one day. This is totally you guys.' It doesn't sound like anything else."Fireworks--which also includes vocalist Dave Mackinder, bassist Kyle O'Neil, guitarist Brett Jones and drummer Tymm Rengers--formed in Detroit in 2005, and released their first EP, We Are Everywhere, on Run For Cover Records in 2006. Those early recordings and some serious DIY touring eventually attracted the attention of esteemed indie Triple Crown Records, which signed the band in 2008 and re-released We Are Everywhere, before quickly sending the band into the studio to cut a full-length debut. Fireworks teamed with producer/New Found Glory guitarist Chad Gilbert and in 2009 dropped All I Have To Offer Is My Own Confusion, instantly staking their place among the leaders of the present melodic punk revival. Several high-profile tours followed, including stints with NFG, Set Your Goals, Four Year Strong and Saves The Day.But despite All I Have To Offer Is My Own Confusion's many charms, the band knew they could do better, especially with more time and budget. So for a follow-up Fireworks tapped iconic producer Brian McTernan (Thrice, Circa Survive, The Movielife) to helm the sessions, sequestering themselves for a month at McTernan's cozy Salad Days studio, in Baltimore, Md.'s vibrant Fell's Point neighborhood. What they emerged with is sure to completely blow away fans, while also exhibiting obvious growth since their last release."We just went on a very different dynamic than our last record," says O'Neil. "We've grown a ton; it shows a lot of maturity, I feel, as far as songwriting goes and sound, but it still has the catchiness of the last record and traditional Fireworks. This one is like everything that we grew up listening to, and wanted to be."Indeed, there's a prevailing sound and vibe on Gospel that harkens to earlier, golden days, when bands like Saves The Day and New Found Glory were redefining pop-punk, yet there's an unmistakable modernity to Gospel as well, sprinkled with the band's own particular nuances. The sum total is a record that sounds like everything fans of the genre adore, while also being fresh, unique and artistically challenging."I honestly think it's just a record that we really wanted to make; it's just a cool, driving rock/pop record," says Mojan. "There are some surf-y vibes to it, some Costello-type vibes, and some harder, traditional Fireworks-type vibes on it, too. It's just all over the place, in a good way. It has definitely some of our most chill material, but at the same time, it has some of the fastest, most aggressive songs we've written."Lyrically speaking, the band spends much of Gospel wrestling with a life spent largely on the road; a situation that has only intensified in recent years with each new milestone Fireworks achieve. Rather than coming across as complaining though, it's more akin to guilt-tinged confession and friendly confiding. "We're obviously in a different mindset since we recorded the last record, as far as life goes, but it's still very personal," explains O'Neil. "I feel this one's even a little more personal, because now we're all a little older, but we're not much more established as people in the real world. Different personal events have happened in people's lives, and being gone a lot has definitely hindered some relationships, as it always will in that situation.""We're all coming to the age when everyone we grew up just kind of moved on and started really living a normal-type life. It isn't a bad thing, but we're just kind of dealing with falling behind," adds Mojan. "It's definitely way more honest than the last record. It mainly deals with the struggles of being home, and being caught in-between being a touring band who does well and plays shows, or just being some idiot trying, who doesn't have time to go to school or do anything else because of this."However out of those tribulations, Fireworks found a new strength in one another, collaborating closer than ever on an album that they can be proud of for years to come. Opening track "Arrows," with its soaring verses and frenetic changes, the intensifying churn of "Summer," or the moody, STD-reminiscent "Teeth," go so far beyond merely honoring the group's influences; they deserve inclusion among the genre's most essential listening. Sensing that their latest release encapsulated more than just songs, but rather, their entire collective salvation, the group dubbed the record Gospel, reflecting not just solidarity, but redemption amid adversity."People sing gospels that help them. To us, this is our version of our gospel, like our expression, and our way out of the annoyances of life," explains Mojan. "It rang really well. It was basically words we wanted to live by, and to us, there's no better way to describe it. The basis of the album is kind of negative, but it's definitely sparked with positivity and more of an uplifting theme, out of a darker setting."As the title conveys, one listen to Gospel and it's clear there is light at the end of the tunnel. Coming up indie can be hard on a young band, but when said group responds with a work as unforgettable as Firework's latest, the fruits of such labor can't be far behind. The band plans to hit the road hard this spring in anticipation of the album's May 24 release, including a three-week run with like-minded punkers the Wonder Years, before the summer calendar gets fully underway. More than anything, the band is anxious to share their triumphant Gospel, so for Fireworks fans, 2011 promises to be nothing short of incendiary."We really are excited for the next couple years, and this record, and everything else to come afterward, and to really see where it takes us as a band," says Mojan. "Right now, we're very much in a 'bring it on' state of mind."

Heartwell

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pop/punk band from Philadelphia, PA.

$10.00 - $12.00

Tickets Available at the Door

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The Barbary

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Fireworks with Heartwell, Reward

Friday, January 11 · Doors 5:30 PM / Show 6:00 PM at The Barbary

Tickets Available at the Door