It doesn’t take long to get to the root of Summer Fires debut EP, Without A Word. Anger, angst and acceptance drown the album’s seven introspective tracks creating a beautiful mess of emotions all brought to life through intricate indie-rock ballads and dark-pop ambiance.
Produced by Grammy-nominated Chris “Frenchie” Smith, Without A Word speaks to brooding romances, learning to accept failures and moving forward with life. The album’s heavy tone is established with the anti-romantic title track as lead vocalist J.P. Welsh’s clarion vocals reflect over falling prisoner to a debilitating relationship…“One of those romances where one party wants it much more than the other,” he says. The addition of Eden Welpy’s backing vocals provide a duality to the emotive track making it relatable from either party’s perspective.
Without A Word doesn’t let up from there. “Coming Down” and “Last Four Hours” both describe how toxic relationships can spill over into other areas of life. The synchronized key taps of the album’s lead single, “Coming Down”, succumb to jarring percussion, fuzzy, arena-rock chords and a Tool-ish, new-metal darkness while “Last Four Hours” takes more of a 90’s alternative approach to the weighty subject matter. The album’s progressive turning point is reached in the episodic “Wait.Wait.Wait” in which Welsh becomes an outside narrator telling a story about a girl stuck in a bad place. “Throughout the course of the song, her fear turns into anger and she pushes back,” he says.
The album’s most upbeat and carefree portion comes in “The Drive”, a borderline post-punk track about jumping in head first, without hesitation or self-doubt. The band branches into fuzzy indie-pop with “Here Tonight” to deliver a strong message of self-honesty and living in the moment before their grandiose conclusion in “The Dream We Had,” an atmospheric and heavy-hearted track written as a tribute to a good friend who lost his battle with cancer.
Summer Fires throws around some serious weight with their debut EP. It’s evident there was a distinct purpose and message the band wanted to deliver when they set their poetry in motion and that message is clearly conveyed from start to finish. The material is heavy but inclusive and far reaching and the band should find a large audience as most listeners will know the emotions behind Without A Word all too well.
The Official Without A Word EP Release Party will be on Thursday, Jan. 18 at Stubb’s Indoors with support from The Cuckoos and Matt Gilmour.