Just to show you he meant it, Charlie from Busted has gone and done it again. Produced another sterling opus, that is, and one containing songs that are as far removed from tawdry throwaway pap about shagging school teachers and air hostesses as Mick Jagger is from being a monogamist.
Okay, that’s not fair. No, I don’t mean “not fair” to the tax-dodging, rubber-lipped one. Rather, Fightstar are a band who, now that they have achieved what the likes of Funeral For A Friend could not (er, make two good albums), deserve to be written about without snidey references to their frontman’s misspent youth.
Rumours abound that Charlie ripped up the band’s contract with Island records after said record label asked for a more commercial album than Grand Unification. Putting aside the fact that it wouldn’t have made any difference if he had (you’d hope hundreds of years of contract law might be robust to such toddler-esque actions), this still might cause one to wonder if Fightstar reacted by going all black metal on us. Or even worse. Doing a double bluff and going all Stereophonics instead.
Not to worry. One Day Son… takes the expansive, we-like-emo-but-Deftones-too rock of Grand Unification and runs with it down sometimes quieter, often more sweeping and occasionally more violent avenues than before.
In fact, anyone who likes a band to settle into a predictable sound and song pattern (did we mention Stereophonics already?) would do well to steer clear of this fiesta of flexibility.
Where Deathcar boasts a heavier-than-thou outro that sounds like it was ripped from a Pantera album, You & I is all sweet harmonies and grandiose strings. Where Floods is the kind of piano-soaked, wide-eyed, cosmic rock number that Muse were making on Absolution, You Amaze Us sees Fightstar turning into Audioslaves. Where Tannhauser is a stomping metallic adrenaline rush, album closers Our Last Common Ancestor and Unfamiliar Ceilings are altogether more restrained – the latter featuring a female backing vocal and a near trip-hop beat.
At times Fightstar’s insistence on swapping soft for loud for soft for loud comes off contrived and irksome. However, their ability to tease out a memorable tune – from songs sweet or sour, light or dark – is a uniting quality that covers a multitude of transgressions.
Some will continue to call Fightstar a band trying too hard to run from a teenybopper past. Others won’t care about that but may think Fightstar’s brand of alternative rock is overly schizo for their consumption.
Whatever, no-one can accuse Fightstar of being boring – not without having to sacrifice their credibility anyway. Mind you, credibility can sometimes be restored if you work hard enough and have a knack for writing a killer tune. Ain’t that right, Charlie?