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Fireworks - Higher Lonely Power (Album Review)

Friday, 06 January 2023 Written by Maddy Howell

Photo:  Leah Castile

Most things change over time, and over the course of almost a decade they can change a lot. After announcing an indefinite hiatus in 2015, Detroit’s Fireworks are back with their first album in nine years, taking a lengthy stride away from the thoughtful pop-punk stylings of their previous three full-lengths.

Having forged a cult following with their debut ‘All I Have To Offer Is My Own Confusion’, 2011’s ‘Gospel’ and 2014’s ‘Oh, Common Life’ saw Fireworks tentatively step into new musical territories. By way of contrast, ‘Higher Lonely Power’ presents a series of shifts so monumental that they feel indicative of a total creative rebirth.

Delving into a sound first hinted at on their 2019 track Demitasse—a breathtaking, near seven minute sonic transformation—Fireworks’ evolution may be jarring to those familiar with their up-tempo pop-punk foundations.

But, as an abrasive, post-hardcore influenced 90-second opener dissipates into the anthemic indie-rock notes of I Want To Start A Religion With You, ‘Higher Lonely Power’ feels not only epic, but perfectly natural. It stands as 45 minutes of mind-bending alt-rock, complete with choral arrangements, string sections, and atmospheric post-rock diversions.

Vocalist David Mackinder’s quick-witted, morbid humour remains, but any nostalgic glimpses of past glories are swiftly hushed by waves of dazzling, dizzying vulnerability. Sophisticated yet unpretentious, each track feels monumental, acknowledging the band’s roots but embracing opportunities to grow. 

In many ways, ‘Higher Lonely Power’ is the perfect comeback album. It offers a comfortingly familiar face in a sea of strangers, but it’s accompanied by the deep allure of mystery. With layers to be peeled back, stories to uncover, and wonders to be found, it’s been a long time coming, but some things are worth waiting for.


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