Firestarter - New Beginnings
Release Date: March 12, 2013
Formed shortly after the breakup of vocalist Matt Laperche’s band Casting Call, Firestarter have quickly jumped onto the scene. Their debut EP, aptly titled New Beginnings, is a solid, albeit slightly formulaic, bit of pop punk.
From the very start of the EP, Firestarter draw you in with catchy guitar melodies, sing-along worthy choruses, hard hitting drums, and lyrics that, although personal, are relatable. Opening track “New Beginnings” is short and sweet, segueing perfectly into “49 Stow.” “Stow” is one of the highlights of this EP, with a breakdown/gang vocal part at the end that is sure to become a fan favorite. “Through all the ups and downs, I still love this town/I'll keep my head held high, this song will tell you why,” vocalist Matt Laperche sings. Maybe it’s a bit typical of pop punk bands, but it works, and Firestarter executes it flawlessly.
Other highlights of the EP include “Worth My Time,” a driving, fast paced love song with a catchy chorus and pounding drums. The closer, “Three Years,” begins with a guitar and vocal intro that reminds me of Real Friends, and then explodes into the furious, fast-tempo pop-punk that Firestarter have demonstrated elsewhere on the EP. Lyrically, this is the angriest song on the EP, and seems to deal with the ending of Laperche’s former band, Casting Call. The result is the best song on the EP. The ending buildup of this track slows back down as Laperche screams “Three years of my life spent away from home/Three years of my life I wasted all for you/Three years of my life spent away from my friends and family/Three years of my life wasted all for nothing.” However, as strong as the ending portion of the song is, it doesn’t go anywhere - I wish that the song, and by extension, the EP, ended on a stronger note.
As much as I like this EP, it does have some shortcomings. My biggest gripe with New Beginnings is that its 5 songs all sound very similar. At points, I didn’t notice that the songs had changed, and as I was listening, I found myself humming the vocal melodies to different songs on the EP without realizing it. In addition, Firestarter don’t deviate very far from the pop punk formula on this release. It’s an incredibly solid EP, but the structure of the songs is predictable.
These minor gripes don’t alter my opinion of New Beginnings much. It’s a solid, well produced first EP - drums sound thunderous, guitars nice and crunchy, and vocals are mixed perfectly into the fray. I’m excited to see what this band can put out when they have the time and fanbase to record a full length. If you like solid, well-done pop punk, give this EP a shot.