There Will Be Fireworks – There Will Be Fireworks

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When the narrative comes to be written for standout albums of 2009, there’s going to be a whole heap of Scottish bands involved. And they just keep coming: The Phantom Band, My Latest Novel, Meursault, We Were Promised Jetpacks, the live Frightened Rabbit Album, Broken Records… There Will Be Fireworks are the latest to well up from the fertile Scottish plains, and I suspect, come the end of 2009, they’re going to be somewhere near the top of that ragged heap, if not at the very top.

The facts are these: There Will Be Fireworks are four Glaswegians – old school friends – Adam Ketterer (drums, glockenspiel), David Madden (bass), Gilbran Farrah (guitar, violin, piano) and Nicholas McManus (guitars, vocals, organ) and this is their first record, though it has been a fair while in the making. It was recorded pretty much live in a huge 17th century mill in Stratharven and it’s hard to miss the fact that the circumstances of the recording have invaded the record’s very weave – it sounds huge. What the band have done is taken the dynamics of a certain strand of post-rock (think Mogwai and Explosions in the Sky) and squashed them into throbbing, explosively passionate songs, and in doing so have channelled something of a new sound – a propulsive, widescreen sound that seems at once born of the organic live recording situation and something else, something deeper. There are lives packed into these songs, and at times it feels as if the skin is close to ripping.

The album begins with a poem written specially for the album by the Stornoway writer and poet Kevin MacNeil. His writing is full of heat and fire, often frayed at the edges – quite a coup for the band and just the perfect fit. His lilting yet powerful monologue (“for there will be fireworks/and they will light up your eyes/and you will feel more alive than ever before/just as your sister would wish for you…”) is consumed by an immense firewall of howling guitars. It’s a powerful statement of intent. Somewhat surprisingly it fades into the calm of ‘So The Story Goes’ – a vast sounding track, but one built around a bare skeleton of distant guitars and understated brass. It’s here and on ‘Midfield Maestro’ that you get a real sense of that recording base the band used – the gaps between the instruments seem almost unnaturally huge at times, and whilst the production isn’t always perfect it’s great to hear such an honest and live sound.

‘Midfield Maestro’ is also where you get a real sense of the band’s emotional punch – and it’s the first of a trio of songs that give the album its narrative heart. As ‘Midfield Maestro’ builds to a huge close (and Ketterer’s drums sound immense here) McManus is bleeding into the mic ‘we’ll set these tapes on fire as your heart breaks in my car/you’re unravelling in my arms’ and you can hear his intakes of breath as they vibrate against his taut vocal chords. The track melts into ‘Guising’ a gorgeous vignette detailing a trick or treat incident, which in turn becomes ‘Off With Their Heads’ – a genuinely epic track which is the band at their very best: raw, ambitious and adept in weaving emotion into dynamic sonic patterns. The closing moments make me want to bust through the top of my head.

You could say, though it would be unfair (what of the broad sweep of ‘A Kind Of Furnace’, the strung-out drama of ‘We Sleep Through The Bombs’ and ‘We Were A Roman Candle’, with it’s blizzard of guitars and aching refrain of ‘I could have been more cautious!’?), that the record never recovers from this highpoint But in truth, and this rambling review is testament to this, the record is ambitious and detailed enough to hold the attention – you can get lost in shadowy corners, listen for buried references to earlier tracks, and all of the while feel a part of the thing. It’s a truly inclusive record. Christ only knows what they’re like live.

For information purposes, the Fireworks record is available from the band themselves as, mystifyingly, they’ve not yet been signed. You can buy from their website here.  Do it.

We have FIVE copies of There Will Be Fireworks’ album to give away.
Email your name and address with the subject line ‘Fireworks’ to and we’ll pick 5 names at random.

Closing date 7th July.

There Will Be Fireworks on MySpace

7 Responses to There Will Be Fireworks – There Will Be Fireworks

  1. Rich Thane July 1, 2009 at 8:03 am #

    i’ve got four albums that i’ve played the arse out of this year

    grizzly bear ‘veckatimest’
    loney dear ‘dear john’
    tallest man on earth ‘shallow grave’ (yeah i know it’s not new)
    and there will be fireworks.

    now, considering these dudes don’t have a deal – they’re in pretty good company right there no?

    this review does the band perfect justice. phenomenal record.

  2. Rich Hughes July 1, 2009 at 8:38 am #

    It is an astonishing album for a band so young AND without a deal.

    I think 2009 should be a “Get There Will Be Fireworks a record / distribution deal”… This band need to be heard far AND wide.

  3. Matt Poacher July 1, 2009 at 9:44 am #

    The Riches agreeing is like crossing the streams: prepare for the gates of hell to open…

    Seriously though, what a cracking band. The guys were happy for me to put up a few tracks over here too:

  4. Anthony July 1, 2009 at 10:36 am #

    With this sort of praise better give em a listen ay!

  5. Nick July 1, 2009 at 12:51 pm #

    Great review, and it’s good to see that nationwide publications are picking up on There Will Be Fireworks, especially since they’re still unsigned and don’t have the whole PR juggernaut behind them. Like Rich, I can’t stop listening to this.

    If you’re a fan or just curious, you may want to check out this track-by-track preview from singer Nicholas McManus on our blog today:

  6. CageyPea July 7, 2009 at 9:50 pm #

    Not signed yet?? A testament to these modern times, then: this came up as a “suggestion” on and — intrigued by the striking album cover alone — I listened to previews and then bought (as mp3 downloads) all the tracks! Great, grand-sounding stuff; reminds me also of some Shoegaze-era classics, especially Pale Saints. Should the CD be picked up and distributed here in the U.S., I’ll buy that too.

  7. matt nathanson music fan January 24, 2010 at 7:44 am #

    Your blog is nice