Them Guns

LA’s Them Guns are trying to shine a light on our darkness. “Fireworks” is all about wrong choices, and the hope that your last one was your last one ever. They stalk grimy, neglected back alleys, whipping spark-throwing chains that brilliantly, but only briefly, illuminate the shadows. Graffiti and busted concrete litter the bleak landscape. Performance shots intercut with the controlled chaos of the video’s definitely illegal pyrotechnics, making it clear that all is not well with these guys. Jittery, personal space-invading camera work and film that’s been put through the wringer create an immediate sense of unease. Here, a broken mirror reflects our narrator’s need to escape his past. You can feel the walls closing in; it’s a room locked from the outside, and you’re in there with them. A single swinging bare lightbulb and shifting focus expose half-seconds of intentional facial disfigurement. You can’t hide what rotten inside. The lyrics say it all: “And if you feel that all is lost / Blame it on the coins you tossed. / Nothing’s changed, I’m still the same / Swear to god with fingers crossed.” Them Guns started up in 2013 in Santa Cruz. The California coast may conjure images of sun-splashed paradise, but this town has a dark side, and it’s easy to believe that Them Guns’ knack for playing polished hooks against grimy, stomping distortion is born of their background. Principle songwriters Navarone Garibaldi and Kyle Hamood’s styles clicked almost instantly. Garibaldi’s vocals and guitar style were a perfect fit with Hamood’s keyboards. Garibaldi is the son of Priscilla Presley, but he’s skipping the beach party for the after-after-party. Lorenzo Perez’s minimalist swing drums and Chuck Holiday’s threatening, fuzzed-out bass round out Them Guns’ rhythmic rock intensity. Garibaldi is a lover of snakes, which makes a whole lot of sense in the context of “Fireworks.” The symbol of sin feels ever-present throughout the video and in their menacing sound. Listen close and you might hear some Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Queens of the Stone Age, Girls Against Boys, or even some Chemical Brothers.

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