Fightstar may just have been the biggest signing that Deep Elm has made ever in their tenure as a indie rock / emo record label. Sure, bands have grown up after being signed to the label (Brandtson, The Appleseed Cast), but Fightstar is HUGE in the United Kingdom. The opening track to â€œThey Liked Your Betterâ€, â€œPaint Your Targetâ€ is the musical equivalent of smashing up a room; chaos reigns but there is some sort of beauty in the wreckage. The use of multiple vocalists during the average track on the disc is a nice modification of the typical â€œrockâ€ sound that the band purveys.
Even when the band starts off slower (as is the case during â€œAmethystâ€), it is only a short period of time before they slide into a style that is tempestuous. Let us not forget that Fightstar has some music talent behind those heavy riffs; the slower sections of â€œAmethystâ€ shows a band that can mix and match riffs successfully with the best of them. The tracks on â€œThey Liked You Betterâ€ are by no means short, but the confidence shown by Fightstar is enough to make time fly by like nothing else. â€œUntil Thenâ€ is perhaps the least â€œheavyâ€ that Fightstar gets on this album; the emoting present on this track is at least as furious as the instrumental interludes that nevertheless find their way to a major place on this disc. â€œCross Out The Starsâ€ shows that the influences of Fightstar are not only focused in the â€œemoâ€ and â€œrockâ€ genres, but find their way as far out as Dave Matthews.
If I could only give one word when reviewing â€œThey Liked You Betterâ€, I would have to say expansive. Fightstar has a full style that means even simple introductions (as is present during â€œHazy Eyesâ€) really transcend any expectations in the enjoyment one can draw from the track. With nary a mistake to slow down the momentum of the album, Fightstar is worthy of the APâ€™s â€œ100 Bands You Need To Knowâ€; while tracks later on the disc might not have the newness of â€œPaint Your Targetâ€, they are still rock-solid examples of what a band should attempt to do. Three years together has made this album not only catchy, but enthralling; Fightstar will undoubtedly be on major stages in the United States for years to come.
Top Tracks: Mono, Paint Your Target
Fightstar â€“ They Liked You Better When You Were Dead / 2006 Deep Elm / 9 Tracks / http://www.fightstarmusic.com / http://www.deepelm.com / Reviewed 13 March 2006