Playing With Fire Band – Review

Playing With Fire Band“Potential” is a funny word. For me, it was my grade school teachers’ way of telling my parents that I was a semi-intelligent slacker. Obviously, that is not what I’m saying about the Playing With Fire band. They’re already beginning to show signs of their realized potential. However, they’re just not there quite yet. I see this as a good thing.

Bands on the upswing are unfortunately more of a rarity than you’d expect. Many of the bands that I see have been playing the same encore for months or years & are noticeably bored while performing it. So are we, the audience. Playing with Fire is on the opposite side of the spectrum. My prediction is that each show will be better than the last & that the musical material will only improve. Now is the time. This is the ground floor.

The Playing With Fire Band

“Upperhand” encapsulates many of my feelings about the Playing With Fire band into one song. The instrumentation & production of the verses & bridge show a bit of wisdom beyond their years. Everyone in the band is contributing something of unmistakable value to the song. I could list tasteful adjectives for every member of the band, but I think it’s described best by just saying, “Good job everyone.” It all came together well & it sounds nice on playback. On the flip slide, the performance & arrangement on the intro & interlude could be tightened up & cleaned out a bit. Overall, the song stands out to me the most & I’m assuming that the more complex stuff works better on stage. It seems like a good closer for a set. I could see a buzzed audience starting a small pit on the hook/post chorus.

I’m having some inner conflict while listening to “Hostage.” These young folks didn’t quite come-of-age in the 90’s but they certainly do sound genuine when displaying their 90’s musical tendencies. On first listen, “Hostage” feels like Playing with Fire is paying homage to “Shine,” by Collective Soul, but with a more current-day arrangement & mix. This makes it come off as more of an honest & serious track. All of the parts sound good but I can’t help the feeling that it teeters on the brink of long-winded. There are a lot of instrumental breaks & dynamic changes which make it a little tough to really sink into the song. But with a little bit of focus from the listener, the arrangement pays off.

“For The Best,” opens up with some really nice, minimal, swelling guitar textures, which build smoothly into preview of the chorus. Then, we drop into a verse & pre-chorus that do a great job of building tension that erupt into a bittersweet & emotional rock chorus. Well done and worthy of some guitar face at their live shows. All of the song sections are serving their purpose in regards to dynamic builds & breaks. This song shows the maturity that this young group already encompasses. As impressive as this 7:31 textural rock song is, it leaves me excited for future releases. They put their grip on songwriting, pacing & structure on full display here, complete with the lead guitar that tugs at the heartstrings in the chorus. As a bonus, we even get to hear the rhythm section somehow step out a bit in this rock ballad. Nice work on drums.

“Watch Out” was the right pick for the EP opener. This is just straight up power chord rock. The verses sit in a really honest range for the singer. She sounds genuine & therefore, just a bit punk rock. The conversational tone of her voice pulls me into the lyrical content of this song more than the others. The song is simply a tightly packaged rock song, which is in pretty sharp contrast to the ambient textures & soaring song lengths of the rest of the Two Weeks EP. My guess is that this one is one of their standard openers or closers at live shows for good reason.

As I said, this is your time to get in on the ground floor with these talented young musicians. Good things are to come. Whether it’s with this current lineup or with future projects, these musicians of the Playing With Fire band will create some high quality records.

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