Fights and Fires are a punk band making a racket that sounds like Rise Against having a ruck with The Smoking Hearts. Their emphatic, punk style comes with a big dose of syrupy pop that helps the songs stay memorable, but they never find themselves too far in the annoying category of sugary-sweet pop-punk bands.
We Could All Be Dead Tomorrow is the band’s debut album and it’s a wonderfully consistent one at that. Musically, this is an impressive, rough and ready affair that is loaded with massive riffs that will spark the fieriest of mosh pits. Philip Cox holds the whole thing together with his half-yelled, half-sung vocals which adds a course edge to the super-catchy melodies. You can really hear a legion of fans singing along with these songs and it’s this formula that makes the album flow so brilliantly.
Coming in just under 30 minutes, We Could All Be Dead Tomorrow is a furious half hour of non-stop punk that doesn’t give you room to breathe. While it’s all delivered with brilliant clarity that helps you appreciate the musicianship on show, it rarely diverges from its’ path to discover anything truly engaging. Songs rarely break the 3 minute mark and by the end of it all you’ll have a hard time naming specific songs due to all the similarities they share.
In the 2 moments where Fights and Fires change their formula, they begin to unearth something truly special. Cat’s Lives and album closer Small Town Boy Pt II throw a welcome curve-ball into the mix that sees the songs slow down dramatically. This helps you appreciate how great some of guitarist Ryan Price’s work truly is. These songs have buckets of groove and are far more contemplative than the rest of the record. If Fights and Fires explore this avenue further on later releases they’ll be onto something rather special.
Another negative comes from Cox’s delivery. While his vocals are perfectly functional, you can’t help but imagine how enormous some of the chorus’ would sound with a clean-sung melody. Traces of this show themselves in the track BFF… For Now which also stands out as an album highlight for this exact reason.
Fights and Fires’ We Could All Be Dead Tomorrow is an impressive half hour of solid punk that could be the soundtrack to some of the best rock shows you’ve ever attended. Unfortunately for the band, they run the risk of of treading overly familiar ground and don’t do enough to keep the songs varied and engaging. The band wear their influences with pride but they’ll have to add some more of themselves to the mix if they want to truly stand out among the crowd.
Fights and Fires’ We Could All Be Dead Tomorrow is released on March 4th through Blackstar Foundation.