Music is more than just sound: It’s a community. No band knows this better than A Sunday Fire, a rock group based out of Alabama.
Founded by Joey Smith (bass) and Sam Ferrouillait (drums), A Sunday Fire began as a metal band. After the addition of Chris Ruiz (vocals) and J (guitar), the group switched directions and released Mobtown Punk about two years ago. The band credits the pop punk-style record for helping them figure out what they wanted to be. “That…EP took us on twelve tours [through] many states and countless shows.”
Now, An Open Letter is leading the band even closer to their goals: “We want to be a haven for people who have nowhere to go or no one to talk to. We want everyone to feel welcome here with us. It’s more than a band and music, it’s a community that we are a part of as well as the people who support us.”
“Saudade” begins with invigorating guitar riffs and strong vocals. Well-paced and energetic, the track is a wonderful start to the album. Each instrumental part works well within the song as a whole, complementary without simply copying each other. I would have preferred the bass being higher in the mix, as the basslines were interesting and dynamic, especially in their interactions with the guitar riffs and drum parts. The vocals are smooth and clear, making A Sunday Fire’s new album the perfect fit for fans of bands like Vigil Antics and Boston Manor.
The second track of the album is “Clocks.” With a slower pop punk feel, the song is smooth and steady throughout its run. The little guitar riffs among the more stable instrumental runs add just the right amount of life to the song, but leave plenty of room for the vocals and lyrics to shine: “Glue our hearts back together / Pick up all the pieces / Glue our love back together….”
“A Mexican Love Story” is a wildly appropriate song for today’s political climate at the United State’s borders. With aggressive instrumentals and undeniable energy, the track really makes a statement even without the lyrics. With the addition of words, “A Mexican Love Story” doesn’t pull punches from the first line: “Lock all the kids in a cage / Maybe throw away the key / Maybe you can build a wall / Build up insecurities / We walk the streets and we don’t feel safe / Land of the free, the USA.” In a time where many people don’t have the common decency to care about human rights issues, songs like “A Mexican Love Story” are essential to help turn the tide.
“Hamilton Creek” continues the momentum built up by “A Mexican Love Story.” The phrasing of the lyrics sounds natural and flows well with the instrumentals, enhancing the overall sound of the track. The bassline is more prominent, resulting in a better balance between the high and low ends than previous tracks. Although it isn’t the star of the album, especially with its placement after “A Mexican Love Story,” “Hamilton Creek” is a great song to rock out to in its own right, and shouldn’t be discounted.
The bassline of “Boys Like You” makes it one of my favorite tracks of An Open Letter. The relative bareness of the verses with the bassline and vocals in the forefront makes “Boys Like You” stand out from the other tracks in the album. The juxtaposition between the sparse verses and fuller choruses gives the track a dynamic feel that makes the song’s 3:16 running time fly by.
The spacey introduction to “The Lovers” gives way to driving instrumentals, building the tension up, only to drop it at the addition of vocals in a move that creates the perfect amount of rub. Another notable track for its bassline and unique structural elements, “The Lovers” stands out, even after several remarkable songs before it. The addition of elements unique to the album so far, such as screams and quieter sections nestled into the fire, makes “The Lovers” a song that could easily be in the running for one of my top tracks of 2019.
“An Open Letter to a Closed Casket” is the title track of An Open Letter. The title of the song is clever and drew me in right away, and the song itself is just as good as I expected. With little riffs placed strategically in the chorus to complement the lyrical phrasing, it’s the details that matter in this track. It has tangible energy within every part, making the overall result chaotic in a way that makes it easy to listen again and again and find something new and interesting each time.
“Life in Plain View” continues the energy into the last section of the album. The majority of the instrumentals are relatively simple compared to many of A Sunday Fire’s other tracks, allowing the well-phrased lyrics to stand out in Chris’s smooth vocals: “This isn’t over / Some things just need time to grow / We are just flowers / Waiting our time in the sun…./ Let’s show them just how much we’ll grow….” The hopefulness of “Life in Plain View” is a great way to show A Sunday Fire’s fans that everything will be okay, and we have to “Just keep moving on” no matter what life throws at us.
“Summer Romance” brings An Open Letter to a close with heavier instrumentals and pop-punk style riffs. The track incorporates themes from previous songs, particularly in the format of vocals/bass in the verse and fuller choruses, allowing the reminiscing lyrics to be the star for a good portion of the track: “We had the dance floor to ourselves / We moved around the room like there was no one else / And you were so high / We were so high / I think our hearts wrote notes in the sky….” “Summer Romance” provides An Open Letter with the perfect amount of closure.
Starting July 17th with New Orleans, A Sunday Fire will be having “a black spending three weeks on the road and playing some new places” on the west coast and even beyond the United States. The group will be stopping in Tijuana, Mexico, a show that they are pumped for: “Chris is Mexican, so playing [there] is huge for him…. “A Mexican Love Story” is about the climate Mexicans face since Trump has taken office,” so the group is excited to play it in Mexico itself.
A Sunday Fire plans to enter the studio once again and keep churning out music for their fans. “We don’t want to stop because of them. Just never going to stop.”
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***Like the majority of my reviews, a submission fee was charged for this post.***