‘Drive Safe, Stay Alive’ — Death by Fireworks — Album review

Lifting the lid on a simmering pot of punk rock, indie and post-hardcore is Death by Fireworks. And their combined approach with these rock genres is exactly what to expect on ‘Drive Safe, Stay Alive’, too, the second studio album from the band.

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Image credit: Jake Russo of Death by Fireworks

What started out as the side project of Jake Russo is now growing beyond its San Francisco Bay roots — well, I’m here, typing from Leeds, so the geography is evidence. In any case, I get major One Tree Hill/The O.C. vibes from this record, and I can assure anyone reading, that’s a compliment and big pat on the back. The coming-of-age qualities of this sort of melodic indie-rock should be saluted. ‘Alright’ — one of the singles and also my favourite of the lot — gives me that sense the most. But ‘Silly Wishes’ and ‘Don’t’ fit that same mould, too.

While you get glimmers of softness from the album opener, ‘Sunlight Slowly Go’, the tempo ups as the song unravels. ‘Heavy’ is very Band of Horses-esque, so it’s clearly had the same brief. 

Things get experimental on ‘Fix Yourself’, though, which directly trails on from ‘Alright’. There are some token electronics and scuzzy feedback elements inbuilt here, which adds another level of excitement almost halfway through this sophomore record. 

Although the now-three-piece band have only been officially mixing and producing tunes since 2016, their clear style makes them appear even more accomplished. And even though their MO is very much rock, they aren’t afraid to play around with sounds, both instrumentally and vocally. Very cool. 

Ready to hear it all for yourself? You can get into Death by Fireworks’ material on Spotify. Make sure you’re following them on Instagram and Facebook, too.

If you only download one track, let it be: ‘Alright’ 

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Image credit: Jake Russo of Death by Fireworks

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