There Will Be Fireworks - The Dark, Dark Bright (4 stars)

There Will Be Fireworks - The Dark, Dark Bright

Second album of emotive eerie ambience from Scottish band

(Comets and Cartwheels)

Differing career paths forced geographical separation on There Will Be Fireworks’ Glasgow band members after the release of their critically acclaimed self-titled debut, but the resulting four-year gap has fortunately, and indelibly, influenced the follow-up. The Dark, Dark Bright is an emotive collection of songs about time and place, home and growing up too fast that somehow exceeds the very high standard set by the band’s debut.

The post-rock dynamics of their first album have been softened; the measured racket reduced – they still erupt occasionally but with a melancholic fury channelled into dynamic beauty. A spoken-word intro with swells of orchestration leads into breathless noise on ‘River’, before fading into the gentle folk of ‘Roots’ – there are many influences poured into these songs, but all have a sadness burning at their core, a frustrated desire to slow the march of time and capture a wilting idea of home. Glasgow is central as vocalist Nicky McManus laments the loss of his dear green place while wandering Kelvingrove alone late at night and picturing his bloodied bones floating in the Clyde.

An eerie ambience underpins many of the songs, but for all its disquieting tones a sense of defiant optimism still pervades the more buoyant indie-pop tracks like ‘Youngblood’ or ‘South Street’. The quieter folk moments are more densely textured than ever, and layers of sound on tracks like ‘Lay Me Down’ are mesmeric, particularly those stamped with the elegant arrangements of the Cairn String Quartet.

Every sound appears to have been painstakingly placed, which makes for a thoroughly captivating listen. It’s a collection of chilly songs ablaze with the warmth of home; a melting pot of hope, frustration and memory. The Dark, Dark Bright is a rare type of album, as introspective as it is visceral – a stirring and thoughtful piece of work that confirms There Will Be Fireworks’ position as one of Scotland’s best bands.

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