Fireworks – Oh, Common Life (2014)


After releasing the critically-acclaimed Gospel in mid-2011, Detroit, MI’s pop punk/rock five-piece act called Fireworks is finally set to release some new music after what seemed to be a five-year “hiatus.” Oh, Common Life – which is the band’s third full-length effort – is set to release on March 25 through Triple Crown Records.

The record’s lead single, “Glowing Crosses,” kicks off Oh, Common Life in a way that is somewhat familiar, yet still a bit of a change. Fireworks hasn’t abandoned the catchy hooks and choruses that were so prevalent on previous works, but at times, the music is much darker than before. “Bed Sores” is a lighter, happier sounding song that features a riff that makes me want to do the chicken dance. The chorus of this track is one of the best on the record and also makes excellent use of a tambourine. Up next is “The Back Window’s Down.” This track is very slow compared to the first two, but it’s a great one that lets vocalist Dave Mackinder shine.

The next few tracks are two of my favourites on Oh, Common Life. “Flies On Tape” is catchy from start to finish, but one of my favourite parts is the synth in the latter half of each verse; it fits perfectly and adds another dimension to the band’s sound. “Woods” is very similar to Gospel, which is probably the reason why I enjoy this song so much. The spectacular chorus of “Woods” also features one of my favourite lyrics: “When I was young, death chewed me up and I was swallowed by a world that I don’t feel a part of anymore.”

“Play God Only Knows At My Funeral” keeps things going strong and picks up the pace even more. Much like “Woods,” the lyrics on this track are extremely personal. Another notable aspect of “Play God Only Knows At My Funeral” is the drumming; it has some excellent fills throughout. The seventh track is “One More Creature Dizzy With Love,” which is one of the slower but most impressive songs on the record. “One More Creature Dizzy With Love” really reminded me of Deja Entendu-era Brand New because of the instruments – especially during the chorus. Another thing that I really liked about this song is that Keyboardist Adam Mercer is heard frequently.

The weakest (I use that word very loosely) spot on Oh, Common Life is “The Only Thing That Haunts This House is Me.” Despite being just over three minutes long, it seems to drag on a little bit. Thankfully, the record closes strong with “The Sound of Young America,” “Run, Brother, Run” and “The Hotbed of Life.” All three tracks display some great musicianship and build up to the next song and end of the record perfectly; “Run, Brother, Run” has a bit of a climactic feel then “The Hotbed of Life” has a very end-of-the-record feel – closing with an excellent chorus and an outro that I can already hear fans singing along to with Mackinder at a show.

Clocking in at 35 minutes, Oh, Common Life is long enough that fans won’t be disappointed by not getting enough new Fireworks tunes to jam, while also not being too long that it’s intimidating to listen to front to back. Furthermore, the longest track is just under four minutes long, while the shortest is one whopping minute less. There’s quite a bit of variety on this record, too; some songs are very fast and happy, some are slower and dark – and there’s even a few that are somewhere in the middle. Oh, Common Life may not be quite as catchy or as summery as Gospel, but it’s one heck of an album that I can see myself listening to many times when I finally experience some warmer weather for more than one day at a time.