There are occasions where a band reaches beyond its humble beginnings and insular scene and creates a cohesive set of memorable songs that wield the potential to make a more seismic and lasting impression. Enter Monuments, the third studio album from Philadelphia’s Fire in the Radio. Engineered and produced by Jesse Gander (Japandroids, White Lung), the album is the successor to the band’s 2017 critically acclaimed New Air LP, and is their most immediate, engaging, and confident record to date.
“Following New Air, we felt challenged to write an album that delivered fully on the promise of our prior effort. We took a Rick Rubin style approach to editing, creating songs that people who placed their trust in us would want to hear. We combined elements from our favourite records, while still attempting to deliver something that was fresh and visceral.
When we were writing these songs, one of our band members sent around a photograph taken on the Fourth of July. The faded fireworks and resulting haze were reminiscent of historic monuments and rituals that had lost their significance in recent times. We separately liked the concept that songs can inspire and serve as monuments to a time and place of new beginnings. The juxtaposition of these competing ideas became a central theme of the new record.”
From the first note of the album’s opener, “Let’s Get To The Start,” to the haunting outro of the closing track, “Save Me,” Monuments finds the band embracing this theme while incorporating elements of new wave, grunge, and shoegaze drone into their unique brand of indie-punk. Lyrically, the band takes significant steps forward with the self-empowering “This Is My Document,” and blistering critique of the Catholic Church, “Sunday Cassock.” Along the way, the band gives nods to influences as diverse as R.E.M., The Cure, Archers of Loaf, Bob Mould, Jawbreaker, and The Hot Snakes, while crafting a record that is unapologetically grounded in punk rock and uniquely their own.
Line-up: Richard Carbone (vocals, guitar), Jonathan Miller (vocals, guitar), Adam Caldwell (drums), and Ed Olsen (bass).