Workin' On Fire is a young band intent on making it big. The high-school rock trio claims to practice almost every day and works tirelessly to promote its music. Recently, the group has done a slew of radio and TV shows, won a local battle of the bands, opened for notable tween pop-punk acts, topped the Record Exchange's weekly top-seller list and broke into the top sellers in the soft- and modern-rock categories of cdbaby.com.
This attention comes on the heels of the band's third official release, Metaphoria.
The first thing that stands out on Metaphoria is the band's skilled instrumental work. Guitarist and lead man Austin Williamson is a talented player, who churns out fast, gritty guitar licks on a dime. His talent is on fervent display on songs like "Trainwrecked" and "The End Again," in which he whips out distorted hard-rock lines. Williamson isn't the only talent on the record--bassist Peter Maguire drops some thumping slap bass lines on "Originality," and drummer Zach Bonaminio lays down impressive beats on "The End Again."
On "To The Moon" and "Anxiety is a Chemical," Williamson turns down the fuzz and reveals his lighter side, strumming soft melodies and harping on subjects ranging from mental illness to lost love, in a voice that is equal parts Billy Joe Armstrong and Scott Weiland. The soft acoustic numbers are where the album shines brightest, particularly the segue from "Anxiety is a Chemical" to "Sailing Underground," where the young musicians' creative potential is most apparent. The two songs are capped with the album's title track, an ethereal instrumental jam that channels Joe Satriani or Eric Johnson.
Where the album falters is in its scope and vision. The young songwriters seem as if they're still trying to pin down their sound and aesthetic. There's not much consistency between the more experimental rock attempts like "Venn Worlds," the heavy modern-rock songs like "Trainwrecked" and the relaxed acoustic numbers. The band leans more toward the modern radio rock template, which is not particularly becoming of it--nor any band, for that matter. However, as the young musicians mature and their tastes develop, they'll have plenty of opportunities to channel their impressive talents and extraordinary chops into some more compelling material.