Over the past few years, a seminal underground alt-rock scene has been developing across the UK. Occasionally bands have surfaced and, in the instance of Biffy Clyro, done rather well. On the whole. However its taken a fair bit of digging to get at the gems hidden below the surface. The Smalltown America label has become a favourite with this reviewer for its lightning rod quality for drawing in excellent rock acts. And it was through this label that Fighting With Wire put out their first offering, Man vs. Monster, back in 2008.
Fairing reasonably well at the time, things have proven tempestuous for the band since then. New labels have come, gone and faffed about, release dates delayed and traction lost. Now sophomore effort Colonel Blood has finally made it to release on Xtra Mile records. Pinning Fighting With Wire down is difficult. To listen to the start of 'Waiting On A Way To Believe' one might worry we're in Lost Prophets territory but soon breaks in to fully fledged rock anthem. Elsewhere we find ourselves straying a little into Biffy Clyro territory on the pounding 'I Won't Let You Down', while 'Erase You' comes close to the more harmonised sound of Taking Back Sunday. The fact that none of these descriptions quite feels accurate however is the sign that there is something quite special about this band. Fighting With Wire balance that tough act of delivering a high octane, developed rock sound while only being a three-piece.
Concise and well written, this is arguably one of the best UK rock albums released this year. The constant energy across the album is a little exhausting, there's a lot to enjoy here. What they've lost out on in label nonsense provides us all a chance to jump on the back of a fantastic rock record from rising UK stars before they go stellar. Catch them while you can.