So on the bus through late November running
by yellow lights tormented, darkness falling,
the two girls sang for miles and miles together.
And it wasn’t the words or tune. It was the singing.
It was the human sweetness in that yellow,
the unpredicted voices of our kind.
Out of the foggy depth of a november-night these words come crawling. Words of wisdom and tender loneliness – words, that linger on, long after they’ve been spoken. Those are the words of Scottish writer IAIN CHRICHTON SMITH’s poem Two Girls Singing and they are resuming a pattern which has been used by this Scottish group called THERE WILL BE FIREWORKS before. On their self-titled debut from 2009 it’s been such a spoken word intro that lead into some huge wall of sounds and an album of imperfect roughness and beauty at the same time. Unfortunately, it took them four years for another full-length – a long time in this business, only bridged by the Because Because-EP from 2011. But well, isn’t it a real pleasure if a year of good music is about to come to an end and suddenly, a band you nearly forgot about finally drops a second album?
Despite their quite pretentious postrock-name, the tunes of THERE WILL BE FIREWORKS contain far more potential than just repeating the old quiet/loud-game. These guys combine poetry, indie, folk and postrock in such a harsh yet unswerving way, that it would have been a shame, if this second album wouldn’t have been made. And indeed, The Dark, Dark Bright has just the right amount of development that could give these guys some more attention. They definitely deserve it. From the beginning, everything’s there again, the whole magic of their debut: the melancholy, the heart-wrenching atmosphere of grateful solitude; as well as the lovely incomplete righteousness of the voice of singer and guitarist Nicky McManus: “Long time ago, watched the roar, the billowing black, the towering smoke/ and our hearts did beat, oh they pounded loudly/ we didn’t speak, we just stared“, he proclaims in the opener And Our Hearts Did Beat. A beautiful starting point for this record, but it is the following River that ultimately carries you away; pulling you into the tides of this achingly vital record.
As the members of THERE WILL BE FIREWORKS have been sucked in by the constraint of earning money recently, there’s been no way of jamming the whole thing out in a rehearsal room as they did in the days of their youth. As one result of being torn apart by those “real-life”-commitments, The Dark Dark Bright seems to be much more prethought than the intuitive There Will Be Fireworks. The ups and downs of folky reduction and postrockish epicness are still there, yet they seem to blend into each other; maybe due to the more distinctive musical shades, maybe because of the widened array of instruments. Parallel to the musical development, McManus lyrically deals with the slipping of youth – as we all know, the art of growing up is all about still taking time for the things you love. Fortunately, THERE WILL BE FIREWORKS stick to their passion, no matter what it takes. And while they unfold their map of joy, regret and compassion, you’ll suddenly find yourself singing along: out of tune and out of breath. The right record for this time of the year and a huge one to deal with – trust me.