If you have ever wondered the meaning behind the old proverb that states “What you lose in the fire, you will find amongst the ashes,” you will find some answers in listening to The Million Reasons’ new EP entitled If Not For the Fire.
The Million Reasons (TMR) is a Chicago, Illinois American Modern Rock N’ Roll band who is committed to risking it all to give their fans that open-road vibe that true Rock delivers.
The four tracks that complete this EP gives musical evidence to the fact that loss is not always a defining aspect of failure or demise, and that fire is not always destructive – often getting burned makes you recognize that you are truly ALIVE!
The title track quickly highlights this notion with FIRE! Strong-willed guitar riffs and an awesome second tenor vocal awakens the dead when “If Not for the Fire” opens. This song truly illustrates how love that feels forbidden is the spark that often opens a whole new world. The lyrics sing: I came for the curse of / I came for the kiss of / A love divine that paralyzes / What did you come for / If not for the fire / To light you up this way / What are you here for? . . . If not for the fire / To light you up this way. “It Not for the Fire” is an honest track that is literally stating that the protagonist is in search of the danger to awaken his senses. It’s that unfortunate fortune that drives people miles and miles away from the norm just to feel normal. The harmony on this track is rich man! And, a great productive feature on this track is the pulsated musical breaks that are layered within the song where some of the music pulls back – this punctuates the song and is so cleverly done that it does not kill the song.
The way the second track starts is so unpredictably beautiful. You first hear a solo guitar softly plucking away, and then in comes the army of guitars that just smacks you in the face. This mix-match of tempo and rhythms in instruments and vocal timbres (quiet and rough) keeps up within “Pretty Ones” and aids in evoking that uncertainly vibe. With the second track, it is all in the mind, so to speak, where the lyricist is concerned with his existence – I can’t hear all the reasons not to go / My restless mind’s a mess when I am static / It’s a drug and I am rolling stoned / The unpaved road, the fix to quell the addict / Ever after chasing down the pretty ones / Right back to the place where I am running from / In motion, stuck in motion / I fear it’s just my nature / Checking off the reasons I should stay . . . Be here now / Would rather be where I'm going / And here doesn't exist if you never get there. The continuous contemplation as to why his nature is always to remain in capture of his own faults weighs heavily on him, so much so that he keeps pondering how he wants to leave but winds up staying but would rather be gone but can never leave.
“Pretty Ones” plays like an existential piece of poetry set to blaring guitars and bottomless percussions. At the two minutes / 30 seconds mark, there is a guitar break that is revolutionary. I am not saying this because I am a true TMR fan – no, this is what Rock is supposed to sound like! By the end of the cut, the listener is left pondering: is it really his mind or is it a mind controlled by a substance? Splendid song craftmanship.
The Rock ballad of the EP is “No North Star.” This is the song that should be on all local and international radio stations as I type this review. The power behind the passionate, illustrative, way the front man sings this track is so beautiful. The song is about self-doubt due to not meeting exceptions of self, but the highlight on this track is the melody line that is created by such traditional Rock instrumentation and the inclusion of a sweet violin. It is wonderful to hear singing in a Rock song. With Rock, it is great to hear the artist inside of the song which makes it not just another record.
The EP closes elevated with “All You Can’t Afford.” The final track shows how the guitarists of TMR are not only technically skilled but creatively genius – just listen to the guitars in this track! Married to violins, synth, and hot percussions, “All You Can’t Afford” fades to gray with FX that sews up the conclusion. What a way to close the EP with a song about leaving behind the ashes of a broken relationship.
The Million Reasons have stayed true to that signature EMO sound that they established years ago, but this time, the music is a bit more Progressive in its Rock approach with melody at the helm.
Unlike many Rock bands today, The Million Reasons, keeps a melody line and intentionally fills in all the musical gaps with true music and not robotic fillers.
Moreover, they are great illustrative songwriters.
When you think of the EP’s title, If Not For the Fire, “fire” could symbolize not just physical fire but it could be an argument, a broken heart, misplaced emotions, or a new, burning, love – but regardless, if not for the FIRE, things could have remained the same but could have been horrible. Or, would things have ever changed for the better? Maybe life would have never restarted for someone who was emotionally dying. Who knows, but the way that The Million Reasons executed the emotional drive within each instrumentation and held onto that fiery passion within every story, makes one know that this band knows how to cover all ground with sound. And to truly live, often one must nearly die.