We’ve met plenty of bands that have two or maybe three members that chip in on singing duties, but one that amasses four vocalists may well be a first for us. Sunderland rockers The Firelight Opera have done just that, giving them a plethora of vocal offerings to work with alongside their ridiculously catchy brand of what they term “proper guitar music.”
The quintet of Chris Pettitt, Dan Foster, Lee Hardy, Ben Craigs and Kyle Martin have honed a huge, superbly polished rock sound that’s seen them share the stage with the likes of Ocean Colour Scene, Cast and Electric Six.
First up though, that four vocalist malarkey. The band explained: “We found ourselves harmonising naturally when we first started writing together and liked how it was sounding. We all have completely different vocal tones so the harmonies sound great and it makes the songwriting really interesting too. Most bands have to write their songs to suit their singer’s tone and range so we have a huge advantage having 4 vocals to play with.”
In January 2016 the five-piece became the first local band to headline the O2 Academy Newcastle, on which they told us: “It was an amazing and surreal experience. It was the point we realised just how big our following is in the North East. Hearing 500 people singing our songs back to us was mind-blowing and most of it is just a blur now because we were all buzzing!”
The band recently released their debut album Communication Breakdown, from which lead single Alive is the opening track – and what an opening track. It opens up with synthy stabs that are soon joined by a rolling guitar riff and plenty of cymbals that lead into a mellow, atmospheric verse. Stabbing guitars kick in as the tension builds with effects-ridden vocals then exploding into an infectious singalong chorus of “This is what it feels like, To feel alive, Feel it on the inside, I’m alive.”
The chorus is followed by a funky guitar solo, which leads into a heavier, yet still atmospheric verse, before building back into a repeat of the chorus, with booming guitars in support of the big vocals. It’s a guaranteed stadium pleaser in the making, with big vocals that make you want to sing you heart out, and a hair-raising outro that typifies a wonderfully crafted song. Check it out for yourself in the video below:
The band succinctly sum up what the single, and their music in general, delivers in spades, telling us: “It has extremely deep and meaningful lyrics, infectious melodies, catchy riffs, big solos, energetic drums and intricate harmonies.
We all have our individual influences but as a band our main influences would have to be the likes of Foo Fighters, Nirvana and The Beatles. Those bands are guitar-driven but have great vocal melodies, which is what we’re all about.”
The band tell us that The Firelight Opera is very much a home-grown entity, explaining: “We grew up on the same estates and went to the same schools but had no idea we’d end up in a band together. Chris, Lee and Kyle were together a long time performing under a different name while Dan and Ben performed in their own bands. Over time, we all gravitated towards each other and ended up forming The Firelight Opera.”