Fireworks

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I'm in awe.

It would be something of an understatement to say that I have been longing for this album ever since I saw the band play at the Classic Rock (CRS) in September 2013 (see review in Issue 60). That gig now sits in the top five best gigs I've attended, so a recording of it or a similar show became an aspiration. Fortunately the band played the Baja Prog Festival in April this year and recorded that set, albeit it's not the entire set we heard that evening at the CRS which is the only disappointment with what is a fabulous representation of the band's immense talent. Actually, the lack of crowd atmosphere doesn't do the band justice either.

I still find it incredible that six young guys have written, arranged and produced music this exquisite, melodic, interesting and with the most fantastic vocal harmonies, but I'm so glad they do.

Using the delightful but uncredited 'Kids' as an intro they move seamlessly into 'Too Young To Say Goodbye' with its wonderful theme that combines all six band members perfectly and features one of the best choruses you could wish to hear. The vocal arrangement is spectacular and belies the relative youth of the band members. It's not wimpy either, there's plenty of power in amongst the inherent beauty of the song.

'Heartland' demonstrates their versatility as a different band member takes the lead vocal; the track drives along at a brisk pace with what I think of as a Genesis 'Lamb...' bass sound. The soloing is terrific and there's yet another memorable chorus and an expertly executed a cappella section towards the end of the song.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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'Barfly' opens in heavy fashion and is undoubtedly Prog as it mixes different feels across just five minutes or so. Their creativeness and skill, if not sound, reminds me of 10CC and Queen with the multi-faceted 'Mega Moon' being a prime example; a track that bobs and weaves through several styles from laid back, through Queen-like choral work, bits that nod at Transatlantic and sections bordering on Prog Metal. Brilliant!

The quality just keeps on coming; having front-loaded the set with shorter songs it's now time for the epics and 'A Kid Called Panic' is first up and it ticks all the right Prog boxes in terms of style, melody and substance. 'Crossed The Rubicon' is a demonstration of vocal excellence in terms of arrangement and execution; reminiscent of the Beach Boys at times.

Naturally they close with an epic, all twenty-five minutes of 'Lover's End, Part III: Skellefteå Serenade' which is a phenomenal piece of work full of Prog goodness. I'm in awe.

Gary Marshall

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