The Fireworks "The Fireworks EP" (Shelflife)
Yes, as so helpfully pointed out by a bravely anonymous visitor to a layer of chips, the Fireworks' first 7" is a tad "derivative".
By way of full disclosure, names that popped randomly into our head on first listen included Shop Assistants, the Groove Farm, the Clouds, Baby Lemonade, the Pastels, Bubblegum Splash! and Meat Whiplash. So derivative it surely is (although there *is* more to it than that: the production and the unyielding floods of reverb owe something to rather more modern developments in indiedom, and give the record a contemporary buzz of sorts). Plus, all of the bands mentioned above were completely outstanding. Yes they were.
The important thing about the Fireworks' opening salvo, then, is this... it's really good. "Derivative" is too easy a word to throw around as an insult, because there is very little music that isn't. Possibly none at all. This EP accepts that and then knuckles down admirably to the task of getting all the vital things right. Three rapacious, rampaging sherbet storms (future classics all), plus a kitschly tolerable slowie to close. Ringing with boy/girl vocals that engage and interchange like Villa and Ardiles in their prime, and exuding a frankly *kissable* glee - this is really what justifies comparisons to the class of '87, I s'pose - the Fireworks completely eschew the charmless posing of yr average "alternative" pop combo right now. This is simply powering, positivemusic; fair crackling with radiance and energy. (Mad props to the label, too: with this EP snapping at the heels of the remarkable Hobbes Fanclub 7" last year, Shelflife have now served up two teasingly tempting, tantalisingly tasty treats in a matter of mere months).
And with the ride on the carousel over, the stylus glides back to base, and there's silence. I look up to see the plane trees outside shuffle their leaves, as they're tickled by benign May winds. I watch the last remnants of a pink sky slink below the rooftops. I often look out of this same window: do you remember another 7", the Garlands and the Sugarplums split ? It was cold that night, and we needed a cup of tea just to restore our circulation, but a little piece of black vinyl brought the magic back to the evening. We feel the same way tonight.