Just as the namesake explosions announce the height of summer on Independence Day, New God‘s sophomore LP Firework might just be the pinnacle of 2014 pop. To be sure, the band are under the radar, but they’re making a statement. With a sound that yearns for the beach music of the 50s and 60s, the album is like listening to a tripped-out seashell.
New God’s music is airy, delicate, and saccharine, like a good chocolate mousse. It’s feel-good music defined; the title track cops a Beach Boys feel, and the classic group seems to be present throughout the album. The summery specter is appropriate and comforting, and when Kenny Tompkins croons “firework,” it’s hard not to hear Brian Wilson or Mike Love in the soaring vocal arrangements. “In A Flash” follows in the same vein. If its sound could be an atmosphere, it would be a seaside cabana looking out onto a beach full of surfers and parasols. Indeed, this is pastoral music for a new generation.
Grandiose, orchestral vocals are a trademark sound here, and at times the Beach Boys allusions might be too domineering. At times, it’s hard to hear New God as anything but “sounding like the Beach Boys.” However, the band sprinkle floating guitar lines (“Ocean Hum”) and mechanized beats (“I Know Something About You”), giving the record a nice deviation from comparison. Firework is a summer album without a doubt. While it’s not life-changing, it’s pleasant, and sometimes, that’s all that’s needed.