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Slow down as you approach the gate, and have your change ready....
Label: Flicker Records
Length: 10 tracks / 34:52 minutes
Out of Orlando, Florida, Fireflight captured a lot hearts with their debut project, The Healing of Harms, but their sophomore release (including their first radio single) Unbreakable, most decidedly leaves their debut in the dust!
Truly, Fireflight has grown by leaps and bounds in every area. Loaded with rocking hooks, tempo changes, and irresistible choruses, this one opens with a slinky-like guitar and strings interacting before slamming rhythms blow your hair straight back. "Unbreakable," the backdrop music on the promos for NBC's Bionic Woman television show, is one of the strongest Christian rock songs in a long time, both in music and lyrics. The opening verse asserts an awareness of the pitfalls and the strength to face them.
Where are the people that accuse me?And with a chorus that asks for more of God, "Unbreakable" takes on an anthem quality.
God I want to dream againAfter quieting things down a bit with "Brand New Day," "The Hunger" comes pounding out of the gate talking about the ache you can't erase no matter how you try. This one begs for you to deal with the frustration by turning up the volume!
With "The Stand," Fireflight flies their flag even higher, with a call against judgmental living and a plea for an honest and open-hearted lifestyle, it urges you to stand up when you are broken and ashamed because are not alone when you hurt or need love.
"Forever," "Wrapped in Your Arms," and "Go Head" show the warm side to Fireflight. Dawn Richardson's vocals and lyrics--selfless and direct throughout Unbreakable--are even more poignant here. She sings of freedom, safety and surrender that shows a trust and love beyond reason--believable and beautiful.
You may be a bit put off by the similarity in sound--perhaps a lack of variation--throughout this project. Although part of the personality of Unbreakable, you may have to check which song is playing until each one reveals its identity.
Fireflight has picked up on what makes bands like Skillet and BarlowGirl popular while developing their own personality. Tight, thundering riffs, stop-on-a-dime changes in tempos, spot on harmonies, hummable choruses combine with disarmingly honest lyrics to make _Unbreakable_ powerful beyond first appearances. You see yourself in every one of the songs. That connection is rare and wonderful.
Bob Felberg January 13, 2008
There are a lot of very good things about Fireflight and their Unbreakable CD. It’s hard to find fault with the project, with its immaculate production, capable female lead singer, and textbook metal-pop band sound. The project is a radio-ready package of songs that will appeal to a broad spectrum of listeners: the songs have hooks, the guitar solos are tight and skillfully played, the drums and bass provide adequate pop-metal thunder, and Dawn Richardson certainly knows how to sing. Put all of these ingredients together and the result is an unabashedly commercial CD, immediately pleasing to the ear, but which, like the proverbial Chinese dinner, will leave you hungry an hour later.
The clean, powerful sound of Unbreakable has already caught the attention of the NBC television network, which has used the album’s title-track to promote the new “Bionic Woman” series as well as its Wednesday night line-up during November sweeps. Mainstream attention is a wonderful thing, of course, but often signals a necessarily generic element to a project that sometimes sends out danger signals as to its artistic or creative potential. Obviously, the idea for a network promo is to find something that is catchy and inoffensive – appealing to the broadest cross-section of the potential audience – and Fireflight seems to fit the bill. There’s nothing wrong in any of this, but it serves as a way of explaining what to expect on _Unbreakable_. Musically, most of the project (except for the occasional ballad) is that kind of polished, metal/pop sound that has all of the technique of, let’s say Stryper, but none of the band’s fire or aggressiveness (not that Stryper is at all hard-core, but it’s their brand of ‘polished metal’ that I’m reminded of). It sounds as if the band is there basically to showcase the vocals of Dawn Richardson, facelessly providing a solid bed of guitar (Justin Cox and Glenn Drennen), bass (Wendy Drennen) and Drums (Phee Shorb). Richardson’s vocals sound somewhat influenced by Rebecca St. James and Nichole Nordeman (if Nordeman was in a hard rock band) – her voice is competent and strong but lacking in a distinctive personal style and nuance. Where Flyleaf’s Lacey Mosley sounds vulnerable and pleading, like the Goth art-student type, Dawn Richardson sounds more like the cheerleader who won the talent contest in the vocal solo division: not a judgment call here – just trying to explain the divergent styles. Fireflight is much closer to Barlow Girl and Superchick than the late, lamented Benjamin Gate.
Lyrically, Fireflight manages to neatly straddle the fence with relationship songs and songs relating to spiritual issues. The messages are never heavy-handed and generally as inoffensive as the music.
Everything about Unbreakable cries out ‘mainstream,’ and while this isn’t a bad thing, it’s worth noting that, while you’re not going to hear anything that ventures into new creative or artistic territory, you are going to get some solid, well-done commercial rock and roll from this band. According to their press release, Fireflight’s music has been featured on E! Entertainment’s “Style Network,” and “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” which probably tells you as much about Unbreakable in one sentence as I have in this whole review.
Bottom line? Give Fireflight a listen and see if they’re right for you.
Bert Saraco 2/14/2008
shiny, polished, very commercial TOCKS.