In a day and age where terrible music constantly deteriorates the radio, it’s nice to hear something refreshing and For The Fire’s debut EP Who We Ought To Be is just that. Between radio friendly hooks and the crunchy guitar sound which every band seems to strive for, they have crafted their first set of songs to be straight to the point.
It all starts off with the track “Mistake,” in which one can instantly make note of the influences from bands like Paramore, Icon For Hire, and New Year’s Day, just to name a few. While it’s lyrics are catchy, the four-and-a-half-minute song gets repetitive and monotonous after a while. But with every up and coming band there are flaws and this should be considered minor because the rest of the EP is great for what material is presented.
Following “Mistake” is “Nothing to Hide”, which is probably the most punk influenced track on the record. This is the type of song that could be taken straight out of Paramore’s debut record All We Know Is Falling, and it’s not a bad comparison by any means, when taken into account that Paramore has taken the route of more radio friendly music as of late. I also noticed the Pierce The Veil reference with the line “she’s got a flair for the dramatic.” (For those who do not know, A Flair For The Dramatic is the debut album by Pierce The Veil.) Some people might find this reference tacky in the future, but I thought it was a genius move to figure out a way to fit a great album into the song’s lyrics, whether it was intended or not. It’s one of those songs that makes you think back to the early 2000s when many rock bands, which many know and still love to this day we’re just starting out, but the band adds enough clarity from 2016 to make it come full circle.
The next track, “In Ignorance We Trust”, could be considered For The Fire’s standout to date. The lyrics are brash for the band’s first release. (Please take this key out of my back. I’m not your poster child, you’re gleaming, shining, circus act.) They obviously have no problem biting their tongue, which is a great thing in today’s music industry since some artists like to water songs down to gain a larger audience. If there was an option to release a song as a single to gain notoriety, this would be the one!
Reaching the middle of the EP means it’s only right to slow things down for a bit with an acoustic number. “Reach For The Stars” starts off a bit rocky, but picks up as the song progresses. After the band shows off that they are ready to knock out anyone holding them back within the previous tracks, it’s nice to have a relaxing moment to collect thoughts about the music so far. In my opinion, this will be the song that connects with fans the most. I have no doubt that sooner or later this will become the perfect sing along at shows as well. With the lyrics “help me reach for the stars that I know I will never touch” the fans will feel like they have the ability to touch the stars while singing along at ease.
Topping the EP off is the track entitled “Beautiful Minds.” The heaviness of the guitars in the beginning is a great start for what is to come. Similar to “Reach For The Stars,” this song also has the potential to be a fan favorite. The connection within the lyrics is evident yet again, “the most beautiful minds are the hardest ones to live inside.” As I was listening to the track, I knew it sounded similar to a song that I had heard before but I couldn’t think of it at that moment. A little while later it finally clicked and I realized that the song “Conspiracy” by Paramore had a similar vibe to it. By the end this proved to be a strong finish for the band’s debut despite its similarity.
Overall, Who We Ought To Be is not a bad record at all for a group that is trying to present their musical creations to the world. The sound could be polished a bit more, but there is an insane amount of potential within this band. But what’s missing is something that separates them from the other local bands of this genre. The lyrics, instruments, and vision of this EP are great, but standing out from the rest is necessary to grow creatively. As I pointed out there are many similarities present, but this problem can be fixed. Every band has influences with each album, but when they are too obvious it could make people turn away from the music that is trying to be presented. As I previously stated, this is just the band’s first release and it’s not bad or awful by any means. It’s just lacking the quality which differentiates from others. But there will be many chances for them to grow as musicians along the way. If they continue to prosper musically then I have no doubt that in the near future For The Fire will be playing with bands like New Year’s Day, In This Moment, Halestorm, The Pretty Reckless, and Paramore.