September 4, 2020 Fame On Fire – Levels (Album Review)
Not to be written off as your run-of-the-mill cover band, Palm Beach, Florida natives Fame On Fire push boundaries with their genre-defying debut album Levels on Hopeless Records.
Pulling pieces of Rock, Hip Hop and heavy music to create a hypnotic cocktail of sound that’s uniquely their own. The Pop Punk quartet, composed of Bryan Kuznitz (vocals), Blake Saul (guitarist), Paul Spirou (bass), and Alex Roman (drums), made waves in 2015 when their electrifying cover of Adele’s “Hello” went viral. The video currently sits at over 25 million views. Since then the band has covered many artists including Linkin Park, Ed Sheeran, and The Weeknd. So yes, while the band does do covers, they a re proving to be more than a ‘one-trick pony.’
Set for release on Friday, September 4, 2020, the album starts off with an electro beat and a nod to Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back with the line, “What are you guys like a cover band or something?” before blaring guitars and drums kick in. A playful jab at those that write them off as nothing more than Punk Goes Pop alums. With Levels, Fame On Fire set out with the mindset to show off how important their music is to them and to the fans. Guitarist Blake Saul said, “Our band exists because all of us grew up together and we found our own ways to music, which is living and breathing inside of us.” This holds to be true with the release of this album which allows listeners to take a peek inside the unapologetic nature of the band and their dedication to deliver something diverse and energetic. This includes producing, tracking, and mixing the album themselves.
Levels touches on the many different facets’ life, the ups and downs and the want to “level-up” and grow. The band’s first No. 1 hit on Sirius XM Octane, “Her Eyes” speaks to us about the turmoil of getting out of an emotionally abusive relationship and finding hope on the other side. Keeping up the momentum, “Not Dead Yet” touches on self-medicating to fight that sinking numbness and fighting to find the light at the end of the tunnel. While “I’m Fine” is the lie we all tell other when we’re clearly two seconds from a breakdown.
Fame on Fire continue to fight their demons while trying to break free from their own mind in “Headspace” featuring a guest spot from Poorstacy. This is while “Crazy For Your Crazy” starts with a low synth beat before going into a rhythmic verse with declarations of being with a bad bitch and the ups and downs of a slightly dysfunctional relationship. Then “Show You” slows things down with a hypnotic groove toppled with a sickly-sweet riff. “Its Okay” is a short and sweet firecracker before going into “Now and Forever” with Our Last Night’s Trevor Wentworth. Wentworth is all too familiar with the grief of being coined a “cover band,” making this collaboration powerful yet beautifully ironic.
Later on, “So Sad” touches on doomed relationships while “Down” takes us on a dizzying downward spiral but craving the strength to climb out. Wrapping things up with a tragic tale of love lost in “SOS” before stripping down and barring their souls in “Scars Of Love.”
Overall, Levels is Fame On Fire’s way of sharing themselves with listeners in a way that showcases their truth and love for creating music that both represents them and who they are as artists. It is catchy and fun and while it may not be their crowning glory, it is at least proof that they’re on the right track. For all these reasons, Cryptic Rock gives Levels 3 out of 5 stars.