Fireflight – Who We Are: The Head & The Heart

Rockfest Records

Release Date: October 23rd 2020

Reviewed by: Joshua Andre

Fireflight– Who We Are: The Head & The Heart (Amazon mp3/iTunes)

Track Listing:

  1. Ready For More
  2. Bang Bang
  3. Who We Are
  4. How To Fly
  5. Keep Your Head Up
  6. Welcome To The Show
  7. Bury The Dead
  8. Arrow
  9. I Believe You
  10. Don’t Let Me Go

[Who We Are] invites us out of helplessness and into our true identity. As God’s children, it’s our opportunity to step up and show what His love is made of. It’s here for us the day after the disaster. It’s here for us when we have nothing left to give. Now we just have God’s love to give, because we’ve run out of everything we could do in our own power…There’s nothing we’ve taken for granted during writing and recording Who We Are. When you’re doing it just for the pure passion, it’s a really refreshing place to be. It takes you back to the very beginning, when you first started out as a band and just had a passion for playing music and impacting peoples’ lives. One of my favourite female fronted bands ever (alongside ZOEgirl, BarlowGirl, Little Mix, Maddie & Tae and Echosmith), Fireflight are back with a a brand new album- 5 years after the dance and EDM influenced INNOVA. Having previously released 2 singles in 2018 (“Die Free” and “I Won’t Look Back”); some long-time fans had reason to be wary and apprehensive about the genre of “I Won’t Look Back”, given that rock was more or less absent from their 2015 release Innova and EDM was present more than rock. Yet I can confidently say that Dawn, Wendy, Justin and Glenn are back and as a force to be reckoned with. Each of the 10 tracks on Who We Are: the Head And The Heart, are rocking and energetic and impacting to the core- and as a number of songs carry a punch; these rock anthems carry with it a natural progression from its thematic and lyrical predecessor of INNOVA. With the 2015 project delving into the theme of identity and knowing whose we are, Who We Are takes it one step future and offers up more inspiration and encouragement, letting us know that we need to take steps to claim that identity and God’s purposes for us.

Immediately off the bat, “Ready For More” comforts, confronts and challenges, as Dawn and co. earnestly and ardently relay that we ought not to run away and turn back when we face our demons and the fight for our soul is imminent. But rather, we should face the doubters, haters and the negative people head on… and cling onto Jesus as only with Him we’ll be ready for more, more insults to be thrown at us so that we can let Jesus change hearts and minds. With the rest of the album containing the same intensity as the album opener, “Bang Bang” follows in the same vein lyrically and thematically as Dawn encourages us to keep rising above adversity and keep going at life even when the odds are stacked against you. Title track “Who We Are” prophetically speaks out identity of being children of God over us, and is the perfect declaration to proclaim especially in such a time as this when we are all still isolated and socially distanced; while the mid-tempo head-banger and Skillet-meets-Flyleaf like “How To Fly” asks God to teach us all how to fly, how to soar and rise above everything that should keep us down, the words that cut like a knife and the actions that really sting. A song that is essentially about ‘turning the other cheek’; Fireflight have more than delivered here and have dropped one of the most inspiring songs of their career thus far!

In times like these when we cannot go to concerts because of COVID-19, “Welcome To The Show” is a great alternative to hear a typical live Fireflgiht concert without being there- as this potential set-list opener is a joy to listen to, with a ‘live’ crowd being present here. While lyrically the track is poignant and very much needed; as Dawn calls out people who go to Christian concerts for that spiritual high, but never seem to follow up that earnest commitment the many other days that they are away from the concert or church service. Speaking about hypocrisy, Fireflight have hit the nail with the hammer here- and while the song could be controversial, I feel that it is needed for us to check our own heart and the motivations for doing what we are doing. The pulsating and explosive “Bury The Dead” speaks about living with regret and challenging us to leave our regrets with Jeuss so that He can bury them with the dead, while the album ender “Don’t Let Me Go” is the longest song on the album, clocking in at nearly 6 minutes. Essentially a prayer, Dawn cries out and sings to God, asking Him to not let us go, to keep on holding us, even in the midst of our pain and our hurt; and is a song that we all should declare, not just when we’re in a spot of bother, but at all times, because that’s how often we need Jesus- all the time!

Fireflight have always been known for creating slower paced piano led ballads from time to time- from “Rise Above”, “He Weeps”, and “Name”, to “All I Need To Be”, “Here And Now” and “Light Inside”; and on this project, the quartet remind us why they’re so gifted and talented at ballads and making us emotional. The piano led “Keep Your Head Up” is about exactly that, as the synth and strings add a layer of depth musically here, with the quartet singing from God’s perspective- a song to comfort and reassure, that He is right here beside us even in the darkest of times, that ‘…I can’t say it’s gonna get easier, every day fighting to keep hope alive, keep your head up my child, through it all, you’re never gonna walk alone, I’ll take every step, every fall by your side, keep your head up my child…’; while the haunting and mysterious “Arrow” speaks about earthly relationships and someone who isn’t doing to work in a relationship, with the quartet speaking about how easily two people can hurt each other like arrows, but still love each other. I’m not sure if this song is based on experience from someone, but regardless the thought still stands- that words have the power to hurt and to heal, to cause pain or to cause love. So let’s choose the latter shall we? The world will be a better place without hate in it, right? The acoustic guitar “I Believe You” rounds out the ballads (where I believe Fireflight shines the most!), which give new meaning to the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf. Presumably about the #metoo campaign, the song delves into the concept of having someone in your corner, who believes in you no matter what- and in this time it’s rare to find someone who will have your back, who will support you no matter what. But just as Fireflight declare with this song, that ‘…you’re not the only one, wondering is this worth it all, You’re not the only one begging for a miracle, everyone thinks you’re crazy when you’re saying that the whole world’s out to get you, but I believe you, I believe you…’; we are met with an anthem for the broken, an anthem for the different, and an anthem for the ignored and destitute. In fact as followers of Jesus who are shunned every day; this song is for us too. Knowing that Jesus loves us and believes us is more than reason enough to keep going- so I reckon this song will probably be one of the most healing and hopeful songs from their whole career! Mark my words, “I Believe You” will be big!

A lot of times, people have come alongside others and have tried to fix them. It comes from a good place, but a lot of times all we want to hear is that they believe us. Not that they’re going to be able to fix it, not that they have the answer for it, but that they believe what we are going through is a real thing… I think this is a really interesting opportunity for those of us who follow God to step up and show what God’s love is made of. It’s here for us the day after the disaster. It’s here for us when we have nothing left to give. Now we just have God’s love to give, because we’ve run out of everything we could do on our own power a long time ago

Fireflight have come a long way from their debut album on Flicker Records in 2006. More than ten years later, and a vast amount of #1 hits and singles, we have seen the band grow musically, lyrically and stylistically. Though it is not known if the stylistic change on Who We Are is permanent or not; I believe that one thing is for certain. Fireflight will continue to make waves and create discussion for many years to come. This album is surprisingly one of my favourites of the entire year; with many songs being necessary, as we delve into the ins and outs of being a Christian especially as we are facing adversity. So give Fireflight’s latest a listen, and let us know what you think! Well done Fireflight, here’s for many more poignant and personal melodies filled with hope, from a band that’s one of the last decade’s most underrated bands ever!

3 songs to listen to: Keep Your Head Up, Arrow, I Believe You

Score: 4.5/5

RIYL: Superchick, RED, BarlowGirl, Plumb, Audio Adrenaline

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