Review Summary: A more mature sound, a more focused record, all of which amount to something special.
For those who do not know Fireworks, Fireworks is a Pop Punk band from Detroit, Michigan. So far they've released three albums; all of which changed drastically from the last while still maintaining the same brand of ridiculously melodic pop punk.
Here we have 'Oh, Common Life', their most recent effort. While Gospel was a great pop punk record, one which actually surpassed genre standards; Oh, Common Life is a different kind of album, though very similar. Here Fireworks take their indie rock sound and expand on it, adding more depth to what would be an already unique pop punk album.
The instrumentation has many layers which create this really unique sound for the band. The use of keyboards and electronics is subtle, yet apparent enough to give the entire album its own sound. The fantastically unique vocals return from the previous albums and seem to have improved greatly. Songs such as Woods, Bed Sores, and Run Brother Run really shine vocally with Dave Mackinder's sweet and smooth vocals over the surprisingly skilled instrumentation. Like on the previous albums, the focus here is clearly melody. The guitars are soft yet upbeat, the vocals are charismatic and charming, and the lyricism is cleve and rather interesting. As a whole, Oh, Common Life feels notably mature and slightly more serious with it's more complex arrangements, darker atmosphere, and less-than corny lyrics in comparison to their previous albums.
There are very few negative aspects to this album. One being the song "The Back Window's Down" which gets really uninteresting towards its closing; despite it's fantastic first half. Also, the end of the album sort of blends together. This may change as I listen to the album more, but as of now, I find myself uninterested at the last few songs.
For me, the most enjoyable aspect of this album is the sense of nostalgia. 'Gospel' and 'All I Have To Offer..." had been a relevant part of my days as a senior in high school. The clever, infectious pop punk returns here and shines once again, and anyone who can relate to this feeling will enjoy this album. Even the majority who don't enjoy pop punk may find something really interesting here, and should at least give this album a listen.
4.5 / 5