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There Will Be Fireworks – The Dark, Dark Bright.

Unfortunately, due to reasons of a my-computer-went-up-in-a-puff-of-smoke nature, this review is somewhat late – very late, even – for which I must apologise to the band, who very generously sent me a review copy of The Dark, Dark Bright some weeks ago before said incident occurred. It turns out that at the point when I originally sat down to listen to the album; my motherboard decided that it would spontaneously self-combust, almost in an act of defiance. I could just say here and now that The Dark, Dark Bright is excellent, but I fear that my new laptop may also decide to overheat and catch fire too. Watch out kids! Fireworks can be dangerous!

In fact, even as I write this review, my Wi-Fi connection seems to be on the blink! I’m seriously worried that There Will Be Fireworks album may in fact be seriously haunted!

It’s been a long four-and-a-half years since There Will Be Fireworks released their self-titled debut album on their own label, The Imaginary Kind. Said album was my Album Of The Year – featuring a nice combination of angry, bitter, clever, melodic and heartfelt emotions; the kind of album for which no amount of appraisals is ever enough. It’s fair to say that I was impressed. Having never (yet) seen them play live (they don’t appear to venture across the border from Scotland down to the big city lights of Manchester too often – and it has to be said that they really should, for they’re sure to find an eager and loyal fan base), before the release of this, their sophomore album, I have only their debut CD and an EP for company.

The first observation of The Dark, Dark Bright is that it feels somewhat more reflective than the debut. ‘And Our Hearts Did Beat’ is There Will Be Fireworks’ staple heart-on-a-sleeve territory, until they let rip during ‘River’ (which, despite the abrupt ending, manages to grab me by the throat and demand my attention). ‘Roots’ could be a letter to a lost love; it’s sorrowful, emotional and absolutely delicious.

Let’s hope that ‘Youngblood’, the track from which a lyric gives rise to the album’s title, is a single. In a world where Emma Watson is starring in a film in which she’s running along a beach, both in love and incredibly happy, only moments before her love is taken from her causing initial sorrow followed by deep longing and regret, this song provides the perfect backdrop. Both bittersweet and reflective in equal measure, it paints a picture of a situation which is desolate and yet upbeat. “You’ve been twisting, turning in your sleep, your nerves all cut to ribbon, you can barely eat” , Nicholas McManus sings, with words which belie his young age.”

‘Here Is Where’ again recalls lost loves, “Do you live for the loves you’ve lost? Do they linger in your thoughts?” sings McManus, unapologetically. ‘South Street’ picks up the tempo – and I simply love the line “Headlong through the city streets, may Christmas lights come on for me, make me believe in make-believe” . It’s a punch-the-air song in which we’re invited to imagine a door being closed on a relationship.

If only we lived in a world where millions of TV viewers didn’t take their musical cues from Simon Cowell, There Will Be Fireworks would be stood on a stage, play their hearts out and then stand in a line while people queue up simply to shake their hands and thank them for changing their lives. God knows, they’ve changed mine.

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