Review by Shannon Shumaker
The first time I listened to Fireworks’ newest album Oh, Common Life, I was actually at work, therefore I was half-paying attention and half-working. Still, even with their album on as background noise, one line in the song “Run, Brother, Run” about vocalist Dave’s father really caught my attention, pulling at the heartstrings and prompting me to go home and buy the album so I could listen to it again while I was really listening.
“I was twenty-five when my dad died; My arms felt weak, my heart grew tired.” The line in “Run, Brother, Run” caught my attention and hit home, especially knowing that Fireworks dropped off of their tour with The Wonder Years back in 2011 because of a family emergency. Dave’s emotional vocals really come to a peak in that second to last song on the album, making it and the last song, “The Hotbed of Life” two of my favorites. It’s very few and far between that a vocalist can be so open and blunt with their lyrics and can still make them beautiful and meaningful without sweeping metaphors or imagery to drive their point home. Anybody knows the feeling of losing a loved one (or the fear of losing someone) and I believe that’s why the last two songs on Oh, Common Life are so hard-hitting and memorable.
One of the main things that is also very noticeable upon listening to Oh, Common Life in its entirety is that the album sounds very similar to their 2011 release, Gospel. And while it is no doubt a mellower album, it does have some upbeat hints at their older music. Maybe the sound was on purpose – after all, the album artwork is very reminiscent of Gospel’s – but either way, it perfectly captures the indie sound that Fireworks mastered with their previous release, as well as the upbeat and fast paced pop punk sound that caught my attention with their 2009 full-length, All I Have To Offer Is My Own Confusion. Dave’s vocals and lyrics are spot on with this album, too, and I believe that definitely has something to do with the band maturing and finally capturing their own unique sound that they discovered with Gospel.
One of the things that sets Fireworks apart from every other pop-punk band in the music scene right now is hands-down their unique sound. While they did stay true to their energetic and poppy roots with Oh, Common Life, their third full-length album does have very prominent indie sound, different than any other pop-punk act is doing right now. It makes Oh, Common Life very refreshing compared to any other pop-punk releases so far this year, and it proves that Fireworks is a band that can adapt to anything.
Listen to: “Run, Brother, Run”