The Fireworks: Black & Blue EP
Following from last year’s triumphant debut LP, Switch me On, the boy-girl fuzz-pop/punk quartet return with a 10” EP of brand new songs on blue vinyl. Indie pop pickers note: drummer Shaun Charman was an original member of the George Best-era Wedding Present.
In 2015 The Fireworks released a powerful debut album, Switch Me On, and now the British punked-up poppers return with an EP featuring 4 brand new songs. At first you may make obvious references to the C86 bands that probably inspired them, but before you shout “bandwagon” or “retro”, drummer Shaun is an integral part of that highly influential and much-loved movement, being an original member of The Wedding Present. Besides: there’s more to what makes Fireworks tick than the obvious. Their energetic mainly female-fronted punk-pop (I say “mainly” because as well as vocalist Emma Hall, guitarist and main songwriter Matthew Rimell sings half of the songs on this EP, with Hall singing most of them on the LP) is mightier than the sound of the indie-pop bands that went before them, such as The Shop Assistants or The Primitives in the mid-‘80s. This is mainly down to The Fireworks being better musicians, who are able to create a much tighter and more consistent sound. And of course the superior recording techniques of current times, which their predecessors didn’t have (or probably couldn’t afford) make them sound less trashy, but just as gutsy and raw. The charging guitar rush of lead track All The Time is loud and in-your-face, with plenty of oomph, and has more in common with the Sex Pistols or Buzzcocks than say, Talulah Gosh.
They vary the styles on this EP, and The Ghost of You favours a picked non-distorted guitar, with Matthew taking the lead vocal. Since recording this EP, Emma left the band amicably, and has been replaced by Beth Arzy (Trembling Blue Stars/The Luxembourg Signal)
What you hear is what you get: The Fireworks don’t try to sound retro on purpose. There’s always going to be a fanbase for bands that blend catchy melodies with charging guitars over pounding drums, whatever you like to call it.
All words by Arash Torabi. More writing by Arash can be found at his Louder Than War author’s archive.