Like A House on Fire has been bravely kept to schedule against all advice. Guitarist Ben Bruce annouced a few weeks ago that physical orders would be pushed back, though keeping the albm release to the due date has allowed fans to get listening early, and what a treat that is.
The departure from the decade-old sound of the debut is never more clear than with I Don't Need You: a piano and strings-led ballad featuring singer-songwriter Grace Grundy. Harmony vocals are full and mixed fantastically, formulating a classic that sounds like it's been around for years. It follows Antisocialist which is different again, with far less sexually aggressive lyricism and a more expansive sound than mid-less breakdowns than the early albums (not that those aren't enjoyable!). Worsnop's vocals are layered thickly across an electronic-influenced radio rock track that will sound entirely at home in arenas.
The vocals across the album really are the shining star, demonstrating such a wide variety of gritty highs and smooth lows across all of the genre-bending influences. All Due Respect is one of the best demonstrations, with Danny left to sing virtually acapella for chunks of the song. The Violence is bluesy with a beautiful play between minor-key vocals and clean guitar, yet Lorazepam has almost Bon Scott feel to it with Bruce backing the verses into a huge chorus. Worsnop has demonstrated his wideness in his vast collection of Asking Alexandria, We Are Harlot and solo records, yet no individual record has been half as diverse or impressive as this.
Downtuned, huge riffs are the instrumental standout throughout, The Violence, Take Some Time and In My Blood being the obvious mentions. Common across the album are warm guitars with smooth attack, blending seamlessly with electronics and bass to form a cohesive multi-dimensional instrumental track.
It's not Stand Up and Scream again, and that's okay: Like A House on Fire is like the self-titled grew into its skin. The sound is bluesy, aggressive and melodic in equal measure. Huge choruses and crashing breakdowns mix to form a fantastic album. Matt Good has done a phenomenal job of production for the second album running, and judging by the records so far, this will be a successful partnership indeed.