The burgeoning years of independent music (or, in more specific terms, a cassette put out by the NME called C86) brought a major sea change in the sound of the British underground. It inspired bunches of kids to pick up instruments and created a whole new vanguard of swirly, jangly, lo-fi pop music.
Some bands were more direct and hooked in their love of music with a political edge (McCarthy), others just talked about girls and break-ups (Wedding Present, Primal Scream, Soup Dragons) and others were cruelly labelled as twee (Field Mice, Flatmates, Razorcuts). There was room for any persuasion and what may have been seen as insular actually opened doors to a host of bands who today use those nuances to their advantages, to name but a few of today’s C86 torch carriers you can feast on The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, Joanna Gruesome and Alvvays. All embracing the past but remaining steeped in the original template.
London / Brighton four piece The Fireworks are ripped from the same cloth as their contemporaries but bring an edge of drive and ambition to complement a fevered guitar rush on their new album ‘Switch Me On’.
From the opening strains of ‘With my heart’ they swarm fuzz and noise all over the vocals like a plague of rampant honey bees looking for a place to bed down. It’s frenetic and tortured but heavily laden with hooks in all the right places. ‘Runaround’ is much scuzzier and the buzz saw deep fried guitar wrestles with the vocal before a cleverly placed jangly six strings ties it all up perfectly.
But it’s not all 100 miles an hour stuff personified by the gentler more dream pop like of ‘Let you know’. A welcome break even if only at track 3.The album’s title song is saturated in reverb, and saccharine melancholy but once again the minimal motoric percussion and simplicity of the arrangement is instantly likeable. In total there are 13 tracks on ‘Switch Me On’, and the band have got the mix perfect of songs split between the male and female lead vox. They exit with the sounds of Galaxie 500 in their ears on the camp-light fire of a stripped down track called ‘In The Morning’, a mellow moment in a sea of noise.
There isn’t a huge amount of variation in the band’s repertoire so forget avant garde noodlings if that is your bag, but what you can expect is an album that is fun, bouncy and ripped to the hilt in beautifully crafted pop songs.
The Fireworks are keeping the indie pop flag firmly flying high and long may they continue to do so.