Track by track: There Will Be Fireworks

There Will Be Fireworks: It's not so much a name as a statement of intent.

The Glaswegian quartet - consisting of Nicholas McManus (above), Gibran Farrah, David Madden and Adam Ketterer - coil shimmering melodies around escalating post-rock structures to create music that mortar strikes your very core.

Somehow unsigned, the band release their self-produced debut LP today (1 July). And before the eponymously-titled record hurtles into the public sphere like an atomic bomb, UtR caught up with frontman Nicholas McManus to get the track-by-track lowdown on this astonishing album.

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(The band were kind enough to allow us more or less free reign with the MP3s we chose to include, but we think it's only fair that some of the album is kept aside for those of you who go out and buy it.)

1. Colombian Fireworks

The spoken word part was written and performed by Kevin MacNeil, the author of The Stornoway Way. He came to one of our gigs, and I asked if he fancied doing us a wee turn a la Edwin Morgan on Idlewild's The Remote Part. Happily, he agreed and wrote the piece for the album, recording it on Shetland with his brother and sending the file to us.

2. So The Story Goes

Just before this starts, you can hear Marshall – the sound engineer – say "just go for it". We like leaving things like that in. It's the first song in which our friend Karen Fishwick plays trumpet. The vocals were recorded with my mouth literally an inch from the condenser mic, so you can hear every little nuance. The idea with that was to make it sound intimate because, lyrically, the song is quite intimate. And quite sad.

3. Midfield Maestro

This was one of the first songs we recorded and is the oldest on the album. Writing it was a bit of a turning point for us. We stumbled upon how we sound now by simplifying everything to write this song, and discovered a poise that we hadn't had before. The song is named in honour of this little figurine I used to have of Diego Maradona. I got it in Asda when I was six or seven and used to put it on top of my amp but I left it in some smelly practice room and haven't seen him for over a year. Gutted.

4. Guising

This is a quiet wee vignette-type-thing. Again, recorded with really close mics so you can hear every nuance and the, vaguely disgusting, noise of my mouth moving. The guitar and vocals were done live at the top of a stairwell. The weird noises are that of an ebow on an acoustic guitar, using a slide. It's quite an innocent song in a way; really just a couple of random memories stuck together. Someone described it as 'knowingly nave' which is probably about right.

5. Off With Their Heads

This segues straight in from Guising. We were really keen to have an album that flowed as much as possible – a complete work rather than a collection of songs – and a lot of the time there are no gaps between songs. This is probably the heaviest song overall. I think we wrote this song the night before we recorded it. Probably not a great idea but it worked out OK.

6. I Like The Lights

This was the last song we recorded. Karen sings in it. We've got brass, strings, two drum parts and all sorts in it. It's basically about when I was in Royal Exchange Square in Glasgow at night time with someone. I really do like the lights there – they're pretty. It's a very short song so there isn't much to say about it except that it took me ages to get the piano right in the bit where everything kicks in because I have useless stubby sausage fingers.

7. A Kind of Furnace

This was the first primarily piano-led song we wrote. The spoken word part in the interlude is a passage from the Ian McEwan novel Enduring Love, spoken by Marshall the soundman using a really cool mic that looked like a walky talky. There's a random accordion and organ progression at the end which we put in for a laugh because we found an accordion and thought it would be in some way wrong not to use it.

8. We Sleep Through The Bombs

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After the rather sprawling nature of A Kind of Furnace, this is a welcome tune. The reverby guitar noise at the start was recorded by facing an amp into the hollow of a big piano. It probably doesn't make much of a difference to how it sounds but we like to experiment with daft things like that and pretend we're mad sonic pioneers like Phil Spector, but with better hair and less mental.

9. Headlights

Another piano led song. It's quite striking, with quite a distinctive guitar line. The weird voices are Gibran singing wordlessly, with backwards reverb on. Basically, we recorded him singing gibberish, reversed the gibberish, put some hefty reverb on it, then put the gibberish back the right way round.

10. We Were A Roman Candle

Another vaguely angsty tune – I should really cheer up. I really loved recording the vocals because I got to scream like a maddy, which is always fun. A recording studio is the one place where you can shout and scream 'til your heart is content and people actually say 'well done, that was good'. After it, my vocal chords were torn to shreds and the next day I had a sexy husky voice. Sadly, it's back to normal.

11. Says Aye

Probably the most optimistic song on the album. It's about a kind of stupid wild optimism; a wide-eyed hope, but a good one. The little sample at the end is Edward R. Murrow; we found a random US Government infomercial from the 1950s about the threat of nuclear warfare that he had narrated. We couldn't resist putting it in.

12. Foreign Thoughts

This is the poppiest moment on the album which is a bit paradoxical because of the weird instrumentation. David plays a non-bassy bass part, using a slide and a since-deceased delay pedal. Gibran used a really old, really cheap Yamaha keyboard played through a guitar amp. This is the one I'm most proud of lyrically – it's basically a stream of consciousness but I like the scansion and the flow.

13. Joined Up Writing

Another optimistic song. At the end, when everything is fading out, I did a little raggedy acoustic bit, which is lyrically and melodically a throwback to Foreign Thoughts. It was intended as a not-very-subtle homage to the end of In The Aeroplane Over The Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel – I thought the way Jeff Mangum references back to Two Headed Boy at the album's close was stunning and shamelessly pillaged the idea.

The album launch is at Nice'n'Sleazy, Glasgow tonight (1 July), with support from Lions.Chase.Tigers and We Hung Your Leader.

You can buy the album online here.

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