Firehouse - Firehouse
Epic Records
Glam Rock
12 songs ()
Release year: 1990
Epic Records
Reviewed by Ben
Archive review

I’ll admit it, I’m a glam rock fan. During my “everything eighties” phase I was into bands like Ratt, Poison, Bon Jovi and Whitesnake so much if you were to talk to me you might think I was a prepubescent teenage girl. A few of the bands from this era still hold over today like Skid Row and Motley Crue but for the most part I ended up trading off most of those hairspray and glitter albums. I dabbled a bit with Firehouse but it wasn’t until one night on tour a couple of years ago when I was partying on Manntis’ tour bus that I became reacquainted with the Carolina rockers. I forgot who it was that put this self titled debut on the stereo but that night we rocked out hard to songs like Overnight Sensation, Don’t Treat Me Bad, and All She Wrote. Firehouse enjoyed a modest amount of success on their heyday, mainly due to the super sappy ballad Love Of A Lifetime, but it was the lesser known songs that showed me that while these guys might have had hair that was more outlandish than a super poofed poodle, they still could write some songs to pump your fist to.

The opener Rock On The Radio is about three minutes of rambling filler, a horrible way to open the album. What saves this track though are the sweet guitar solos that dominate the last minute and a half. I wonder if N’Sync (or the person who wrote their hit Bye, Bye, Bye) was a passing fan of Firehouse because All She Wrote is driven by the hammering chorus that some boy band would rip off years later. An upbeat, catchy single, this is straight up candy coated eighties gold that is on par with Ratt’s Round And Round and Bon Jovi’s Born To Be My Baby in terms of glam rock guilty pleasures. One of my friends summed the song up this way, “It sounds like something you’d play in the background as you roll up on a Harley.” Not to take away from the other musicians in the group but one of the most distinctive features that Firehouse had was the super high pitched vocals of C.J. Snare. In Don’t Treat Me Bad he uses his lung power to soar over the super simple, yet wildly effective, guitar riffs and give the listener a cool summer cruising tune. Being the only outright metal song, I’m surprised Overnight Sensation hasn’t been covered by anybody yet. As it did with me on that night on the tour bus, if you crank this track at a party you are bound to get some horns thrown and people to whip out their air guitars and flail away like they’re rocking the expert mode on Guitar Hero. Great riffs, insane vocals (both the high notes that are hit and the energy that they emanate) and a scorching solo are just the right ingredients a song needs in order to get a room moving. The rest of the album is made up of good quality hair metal but they don‘t quite measure up to the songs already mentioned. In particular, Outta Be A Law and Don’t Walk Away are slower tracks that are more sleaze fests than rockers. Album closer Helpless almost scores a home run but gets grounded for being a bit too similar to All She Wrote and stays in the ballpark. The requisite power ballads are here and they’re basically what drags this album down. Firehouse can rock, and rock quite well, but their ballads are way too schmaltzy and forced. It’s like they needed to churn out a couple of swooners because back in the day you always followed up your debut single, the anthemic power rocker, with the supposed panty dropping ballad. Bad move on Firehouse’s part.

Looking at the rest of the band’s discography and taking a listen to a few songs here and there, Firehouse have remained fairly consistent in their career. They have put out several releases since this debut and while they aren’t nearly as strong, they do appease fans of this era. I would recommend beginning your Firehouse journey with this album and working your way forward.

Killing Songs :
All She Wrote, Helpless, Overnight Sensation
Ben quoted 65 / 100
Other albums by Firehouse that we have reviewed:
Firehouse - Prime Time reviewed by Mike and quoted 72 / 100
2 readers voted
Your quote was: 65.
Change your vote

There are 21 replies to this review. Last one on Tue Apr 03, 2007 6:02 pm
View and Post comments