The Fireworks’ primary sonic objective is drenching catchy guitar pop in feedback and fuzz as they add gal-guy vocals and unleash the ingredients through a trim energetic attack. Featuring 13 hard-hitting songs and a handful of twists, Switch Me On is the London and Brighton UK-based four-piece’s first LP. It’s out this week on blood red vinyl exclusive to Rough Trade shops and on white wax via Shelflife Records.
The Fireworks boast a diverse if complementary background. To begin, vocalist, tambourine rattler and guitarist Emma Hall was/is a member of Pocketbooks, a group that amongst other achievements headlined the inaugural indietracks festival back in 2007. Held at the Midland Railway Centre in Derbyshire, indietracks has grown from a one-day event into a huge annual affair spanning a cluster of calendar dates.
Similarly, the club parties/DJ nights Hall’s singing partner and guitarist Matthew Rimell organized under the telling name Big Pink Cake unsurprisingly blossomed into a record label. To my knowledge The Fireworks’ bassist Isabel Albiol doesn’t set up fests or club-nights, but as a visual artist of note her intriguing work has appeared in solo and group exhibitions. And that leaves drummer and additional guitarist Shaun Charman, formerly of The Wedding Present and a member of The Popguns.
In 2012 The Popguns recommenced activity and were one of the acts shaping up indietracks’ ’14 shebang; their participation in a roster 59-deep reinforces the tight-knit and thriving nature of the indie pop scene. Likewise, tilting an ear toward The Fireworks’ debut, a self-titled 4-song EP issued by Shelflife in ’13, underscores how said community is largely less concerned with attempts at wheel reinvention and more interested in subtle variations upon memorable rides down well-traversed routes.
The bands excelling in these endeavors at recalibration are predominantly those holding either legitimate ties to or a sincere interest in the genre’s prior accomplishments, and as detailed above The Fireworks’ possess both. Strengthening those bona fides is “Getting Nowhere Fast,” a spiffy cover of a tune originally by Girls At Our Best!
Amid numerous locales, the source material can be found on the undersung Leeds outfit’s first single from 1980, and The Fireworks’ faithful rendering is easily heard on YouTube, though it was released last year in physical form by the freakScene label on a very attractive and fully-playable flexi-disc postcard. Alongside “The Fireworks” and “Runaround” EPs, “Getting Nowhere Fast” completes the group’s pre-2015 output.
Also from ’13, the second 3-song EP delivers a slim preview of Switch Me On, the new album smartly reshuffling two selections and placing them up front for an immediate kick. “With My Heart” conveys pounding distorted brevity; Buzzcocky as per their stated list of comparisons and therefore aptly assessed as fairly if not deliberately Ramonsian, the instrumental motion contrasts nicely with the unstrained assurance of Hall’s vocals.
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