Reviews for Fireworks or Lightning – from around the globe!

The reviews are coming in for the new Finn’s Motel album, Fireworks or Lightning. Check ’em out!

READ Essential New Music at Magnet Magazine
Matt Hickey (our hero) at Magnet Magazine (USA) says, “We’ve championed Finn’s Motel for years, and they’ve rewarded us—and you—with the outstanding new Fireworks Or Lightning (Victory Over Gravity). From from the catchy opening salvo of “In A Cosmic Waiting Room” and the propulsive “More Heat Than Light” (more cowbell!) through the chiming, Church-esque “Drive On Tomorrow” and the closing melancholy of “Sunset Over Your Neighbor’s House,” the quartet…delivers another fine LP full of melodic, literate power pop.”

READ Fireworks or Lightning at I Don’t Hear a Single
Don Valentine’s excellent UK blog, I Don’t Hear a Single, says, “One of the main benefits of covering the new and under appreciated is that you often get a Wow Moment! It may be a new band that just grips you or someone you know who produces a completely unexpectedly great album. Finn’s Motel fall into the former category. These moments don’t come as often as you might think. So when they do, you just have to tell everyone.”

READ Fireworks or Lightning at The Fire Note
Old pal from way back in the day, Brian Q. Newcomb, says, “Thebeau’s breadth of influences are revealed in the acoustic folk harmonies of “Empty Hearts Returning Triumphant” and the simmering slow opening of “Sparkler Bombs” which builds steadily to its climax. Other straight-ahead rockers like “More Heat Than Light” erupts with a great solo, while honoring seminal power pop and hard rock sounds. It’s driven by a narrative of growing up in America’s suburban countryside, and seeking meaning in the common experiences of life, from the view of someone who’s lived well and long enough to tell the tale with something other than rose colored glasses.”

BUY Fireworks or Lightning

Finn’s Motel – Fireworks or Lightning Album Released on CD

Finn’s Motel is releasing a new album, Fireworks or Lightning, on CD and vinyl via their own imprint, Victory Over Gravity Records. Originally scheduled for May1, 2021, the album was released last week since the CDs arrived early. CDs and digital downloads are available now from Bandcamp and soon to be in local St. Louis stores. The vinyl is being pressed and is estimated for arrival late July, early August 2021.


Fireworks or Lightning is a cinematic soundtrack to a story set in suburban and rural Illinois. It’s a tale of disaffected youth, vandalism, death, rebirth, the Tibetan Book of the Dead, and UFO sightings. “What was that we saw? Fireworks or lightning? Aliens or airplanes?” The album begins with thundrous rock, cruises through songs and song suites, and then ends…

…well, we’re not going to tell you how it ends. You’ll have to listen to find out.

To celebrate the early release, we also put out another video from the album:



New Album Fireworks or Lightning! New Video for In a Cosmic Waiting Room!

New Album!
The day has finally come! Finn’s Motel’s Fireworks or Lightning album is being pressed and will be released May 1, 2021 on CD/digital. The vinyl is going to take longer to get here. Yes, I said vinyl! Big and beautiful vinyl records!

We are taking pre-orders now:
Finn’s Motel – Fireworks or Lightning on Bandcamp

New Video – In a Cosmic Waiting Room:
To celebrate the album release, we made a video for the first song on the album, In a Cosmic Waiting Room.


Video credits:
First-person car shots by Jack Petracek
Drone video of eclipse by Scott Roever
Other video bits by Joe Thebeau
Edited by Joe at (with incidental dogs) studio.

Fireworks or Lightning: Video

The audio is available for free/pay what you want download from our bandcamp site:

Finn’s Motel – Fireworks or Lightning on Bandcamp

The Story of the Video

Back in February of 2020, we were working in the studio the normal way: all four of us in the same place working together. We were making a lot of progress. Some songs were reaching completion and final mix, while others were being finished up. Then, things got serious with the Coronavirus becoming clear that it would be a pandemic. We all went into ‘stay-at-home’ mode. Being creative people, it wasn’t long before we started looking for ways to express ourselves while staying physically apart.

As part of my day job I had recently learned how to use Adobe Premiere Pro to do video editing/production. I was itching to try a video for the band but we hadn’t really started anything in earnest. In a flurry of instant messages, ideas were tossed back and forth about which song would be a good one to try. The idea being that each guy would video record himself in his own home/studio space using a phone or whatever mechanism was available and then I’d edit it all together.

We chose the song “Fireworks or Lightning” because: a) it was already recorded and darn-near finished, b) it lent itself to visuals, and c) it didn’t have any lyrics that might make people think it was about the Coronavirus in any way (that we could see).

Steve recorded himself playing along with the song in his bedroom. Scott used a variety of locations in and around his house and Big Tree Studio in Valmeyer, IL. Jack played drums in his Rolltop Studio down the road from me here in Affton, MO and did some tambourine in a secret, secure location. I did my bits in my basement room (with incidental dog) studio with the help of my partner Gina Dill-Thebeau who served double duty wrangling pups Rex and Moo Moo so I didn’t break character too many times. I edited us all together. Final mix and master of the audio was done by Jack and just like that we had a new video to share.

One last note about the song Fireworks or Lightning: I wrote it in around 1996-97. I’ve been carrying it around for almost 25 years because none of the previous recordings – with bands or solo – ever quite got it right. Some of the tracks in this version were done in 2007, but, it also didn’t feel right at the time. As we started working on it late last year, it started to finally feel right. We hope you agree. Thanks for listening/watching. We’re looking forward to playing it live as soon as it’s safe to do so.



Finn’s Motel Is One of 2018’s STL 77 Honorees

In 2006, Finn’s Motel made waves with Escape Velocity, a collection of heart-racing power-pop with one foot in the garage and the other on an arena stage. Eleven years later, the Joe Thebeau-led troupe oiled its joints and slowly creaked back to life with the release of two full-length albums (and, as of April, the Stone Lions EP). There’s no rust for the weary, however — and the troupe is swiftly making up for lost time.

Read more here at Riverfront Times