Out of these asinine questions, Flashbulb Fires was born, and with the new name came a more profound, albeit darker approach to songwriting from McGuire. With lines like "Heaven and hell I'm gonna burn you to bits" and "I sang glory, glory in the middle of a nightmare," McGuire had found a new way to express the frustration over religion that he had dealt with for most of his life. By then he had begun to see his former faith as an opioid that lured people into false comfort. On the song "Sleep Money Dawn," for instance, he reminisces about thumbing through the pages of a Bible, but then quickly compares the feeling to taking drugs, gently cooing on the choruses, "Come down, stay down, Oxycontin. You've been lost and you've been forgotten."

Although Reschke, who still considers himself a Christian, may not agree completely with McGuire's thoughts on religion, he can certainly identify with some of the confusion and uncertainty.

"As a believer in God," Reschke notes, "I don't take offense to it. I've had the experiences Patrick has; I just decided to go a different way. I've experienced a lot of pain and rejection, too."

Firemen: Tyler Reschke (from left), Michael James, Chris Sturniolo and Patrick McGuire are Flashbulb Fires.
Firemen: Tyler Reschke (from left), Michael James, Chris Sturniolo and Patrick McGuire are Flashbulb Fires.


Flashbulb Fires CD-release show, with Kissing Party and Danielle Ate the Sandwich, 8 p.m. Friday, December 18, hi-dive, 7 South Broadway, $8, 720-570-4500.

In spite of McGuire's brooding lyrical content, Glory's harmonies are undauntedly layered with richly orchestrated horns that could come straight from the heavens and vocal harmonies sweet enough to be sung in any choir. "There's definitely some redemption there, both lyrically and thematically," Sturniolo allows. "That balance between what's beautiful and what hurts is what's cool about life."

It is a balance that Flashbulb Fires executes masterfully throughout Glory and even sometimes throughout the context of a song. The album's opener, "Pyramid Scheme," starts with an inspiring march-like build, and by the end dips back down into a sorrowful resolve as McGuire sings about being on a lonely subway car with a pocket full of pills.

McGuire says the last thing he wants is for someone to listen to Glory and think that he does not believe in God. He just wants people to question why they believe in the things they do, as he has done so many times before.

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