Sound: The eagerly awaited new single from Fightstar, Will they turn horribly mainstream or will they run further away and produce another round of non conforming brilliance? Turns out they opted for a bit of both here. I bought the single and Vinyl of this release, and downloaded the extra B side too. I was wary that the band might move on into mainstream territory, however this song was released to radio late September. At the first listen, I was turned off massively by the use of a Choir in the prechoruses, and the middle section. I didn't know what to make of the song, I had a mindset that it was really commercial sounding, and the band have always been rather anti commercial.
After a few listens it started to grow on me though, and now I love the song. I can see the point of view the band are coming from, they deserve a lot of success, and this is the right way to go about it. Charlie Simpson's pop past is quite evident in the songwriting arrangement, not that any sound like pop songs, but Fightstar's songs are always catchy, the guy has an ear for good melody. I have 4 songs from the release, English Way, Colours Bleed (Album Demo), Drown, and Hide & Seek (Imogen Heap Cover) Here is a track by track breakdown.
01.The English Way: the main single, the chorus is really really catchy, nice to hear a bit of Alex Westaway in the prechorus, The verses are nicely done. Choir in the prechorus I was wary about at first, but now I don't mind it. At the end of the song there is a heavy breakdown which I am a huge fan of, however for the single version this has been cut off! It still features in the video, but we will have to wait for the album version to hear it. This is a natural progression for the band, and I like where it's going.
02.Colours Bleed (Album Demo): this is a track that has now been renamed Colours Bleed To Red, and will be recorded again and redone for the album, hence this being an album demo, Charlie Simpson drums on this song as the drummer Omar broke his hand around October. Charlie handles the drum duties perfectly, and frankly, It makes me somewhat envious of his multi imstrumental skills. With verses sung by Alex, and Charlie singing the choruses, this begins as a song reminiscent of Funeral For A Friend, especially in the chorus. However after the second chorus, I was glad to hear that Fightstar hadn't lost any of theur heavy roots, as the whole thing grinds to a slight halt, with Charlie shouting a Speech, whilst a tribal drum beat begins. After about 25 seconds, an amazing riff kicks in with a huge scream from charlie, which continues frantically until the double kick drum comes in for a barrage of a final riff, ending this song on a bang, I wasn't expecting such an ending, and Can't wait for the real album version to come out, let's hope the structure is the same, and the super heavy breakdown is included.
03.Drown: Alex Westaway takes over on this song. The song is a clean sounding one, giving the feel of being in a sort of sanctuary. The guitar tone is brilliant, and after each chorus, there is a strange guitar effect that I love, it is in Shinji Ikari too, and really makes the song more brilliant. Alex's vocals are top notch on here, and it's on B-Sides like this that he gets chance to shine. A month after getting the song, I still can't get enough of it. especially the last part where everything goes high register, it's a fragile sounding song that gives the feeling of being cut away from everything, the guitar and vocal harmonies weaving in and out of each other perfectly.
04.Hide & Seek (Imogen Heap Cover): with the original song being just dual synth-layered vocals, I was unsure abotu how the band would go about covering the song, yet they did as I predicted, and used a piano to replicate the key and chords of the original vocals, to make more of a song from it. A preview I heard featured Alex joining Charlie on the second chorus, and I thought the song was going to be a sort of Duet, if you will, between the two, and I was let down a touch when I heard the full song and discovered it was just Charlie, It could have been great if Alex had more of a role, His voice would surely suit the song. Nevertheless it is a great cover, Charlie did really well.
Overall a Great single bundle, giving me High Hopes for the next CD due in March 09. // 9
Lyrics: Charlie and Alex shine on all songs here. They have only gotten better at singing. With songs spread out to feature both singers, there is a nice balance. Lyric wise, as usual there is a random sort of feel to some songs lyrics, but that's a good thing in my opinion.
01.The English Way: is about, the english way of ldoing things really, "this is the english way to make us all feel back together". With a middle section of "too many lives have been lost under orders of too many people that have lost their voices".
02.Colours Bleed: the lyrics here, are some trouble to find a meaning too. Main chorus lyrics are of looking at the stars, wondering wher eon earth somebody is, and I'm presuming, the sky's Colours Bleeding to Red. Other than this, I'm just lost!
03.Drown: this song relates a Bed to the ocean: "We dive into my bed, and swim under the sheets, we float from wave to wave until we reach the shore', with a chorus of 'Dry your armour, lay your weapons here'. Overall it must be about leaving things behind and moving on from things.
04.Hide and Seek: Hide and Seek's lyrics I can't really make out a real subject, they must have some meaning behind them, But I can't quite make it out.
Overall, as stated both singers do a great job, lyrics are sometimes a little random, but that's normal for Fightstar. // 8
Overall Impression: This new release is another step forward for Fightstar, It's a new sound for them, and a natural progression. The most impressive songs in my opinion, are Drown, English Way and Colours Bleed, they are all brilliant. My personal favourite is Drown, as I really appreciate the vocal talent of Alex, Fightstars second singer, and it's nice for him to have a song on his own.
I can appreciate that Fightstar are taking their music in a more mainstream direction, they are still retaining the heavy element, which I am glad about, If they lost that I would go off them a bit. They still sound ahead of a lot of 'cutting edge' bands nowadays, and are a band this country can be proud of.
If this was stolen, I'd buy and download it again, and once again, be happy knowing that someone has stolen a brilliant CD off me, and hope they enjoy Fightstar. Can't wait for the new album. // 9