What a great little unexpected gem this record is. Part of the growing number of bands playing a sort of back to basics style of pop punk (a genre dubbed “realist pop punk” by like-minded act The Wonder Years), Fireworks’ debut full length is an intoxicating yet entirely humble effort from a band just working their way up.
If your understanding of pop punk comes from bands such as Panic! At The Disco or Fall Out Boy, All I Have to Offer is my Own Confusion may, well, confuse you. This is pop punk with the emphasis on the punk rather than the pop. The songs on Confusion contain solid pop sensibilities, but are presented with determinedly ragged edges which immediately differentiates Fireworks from their more heavily produced bretheren.
Opening track Geography, Vonnegut and Me sets the tone for what is to follow, with its formula of punk rock drums and shifting time signatures with raw vocals (including some well-timed and thoroughly traditional gang vocals) being more or less adhered to throughout the album. Come Around, with its almost impossibly sunny hooks, is just one of several tracks that seem destined to be played on the next big American teen drama. It is far from a commercial sound, but one that at the same time has obvious commercial potential.
Old-school punk sensibilities are never far from the surface, most notably on the breakneck Show Me Your Vanishing Act, which concludes with the line “Live/Live for yourself/And nobody else/And fuck what they sell”. The self empowerment theme is one that recurs throughout the record giving it a consistently hopeful feel that is becoming typical of this genre with bands such as the aforementioned The Wonder Years, along with Broadway Calls and a handful of others, treading similar territory.
The best moments of the record occur right at the end, though, with the innocent charm of Detroit, a song about riding pushbikes around Detroit with friends at 3am, and When We Stand On Each Other We Block Out The Sun, with a soaring chorus of “I still take bad advice from my best friends”, proving utterly irresistible and a perfect summation of one of the most promising debuts in a long time.
If you’re looking for a soundtrack to your Summer, pick up All I Have To Offer Is My Own Confusion. I guarantee it’ll hit the spot.
Listen to Fireworks HERE