"Girls on Fire" is the debut release from Hurricane Season, a three-piece melody-driven punk rock outfit from New Brunswick, NJ. Hurricane Season consists of Matty Stolpe on drums, Stefan Kneezy on bass, & Brian Hughes on guitar & vocals. In regards to production quality, the album punches crisply & clearly. I still haven't concluded that to be because of my new headphones (thanks, Colin!) or because "Girls on Fire" was recorded at The Panda Studios with Sam Pura. Both are pretty freakin' sweet.
The five-song release comes out swingin' with the band's first official single, "Hollow Shell" that acts as a platform for scolding & lecture to a friend struggling with heroin. This track is painfully relatable (seriously - stop doing heroin!) & is also the first evidence that "Girls on Fire" is a typical basement rocker with evidently more educated chord changes.
The album slows down with the second number, "Smoke" which is where we are first introduced to the album's lyrical theme. Lyrically, the rest of the album speaks of several different experiences with different women. The woman in "Smoke" just happens to be one who sleeps with people for drugs - a story I'm sure we've all heard before. This time, however, we're graced with the opportunity to hear the equally-as-pathetic other side of the story. Honestly, sometimes I forget there are two sides to whoring out - two dishearteningly desperate sides. With one person taking advantage of another's addiction & the other person taking advantage of the first person's loneliness, it's hard to say which one of the two - if either - is at fault.
The desperation continues onto the third track, "Midnight Caller" where [Brian] Hughes belts out a pleasant blend of signature New Brunswick angst & a Brendon Urie-esque tenor-ranged styling of melodies that melts madly in conformity with the story - a story that appears to describe one overly shameful & flagrantly self-entitled woman versed in the art of booty call. The honesty pours in this one to the extent that Bukowski may even be proud himself.
The fourth track picks up the pace with the band's tumblr-wave pop punk number, "New Year Resolution" which features Hughes' most aggressive vocals on track as he battles with an unfaithful ex-love interest who has claimed reform.
The last track, "Trust Me" is probably the most nostalgic for me. It opens in classic punk rock stylings & resounds reminiscently of my time spent at the late & great Hamilton St. Cafe, the debatable ground zero for last decade's sweatily passionate community of DIY crusters & content-over-quality punk rock enthusiasts. When I listen to this track, I am brought instantly to the basement it was written in & I can almost feel the soles of my shoes sticking to the layer of cheap beer that covers the concrete floor as my nostrils fill with the aroma of hand-rolled cigarettes. As the snare hits, I can almost see Christmas lights hanging from various pipes along the ceiling & illuminating the faces of a hundred New Brunswick kids coming together for a shared love of the raw & bloody honesty & for the mutual distaste of everything & everybody else. As the last song fades, I can almost hear a faint ringing in my ears; a ringing like a buzzing amp refusing to go out; a ringing that just can't cope with the idea of the party being over.
As the last song fades, I can almost hear a faint ringing in my ears that, although quite satisfied, is aching for more.