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Explosion - Black Tape

  by Jonjo McNeill

published: 18 / 5 / 2005

Explosion - Black Tape
Label: Virgin
Format: CD


Brash fast-paced punk from new Boston outfit the Explosion, which, while falling short of being absolutely essential,often proves to be compelling

From Boston - the city which gave us Cheers, Red Sox and tea parties -comes the Explosion, the latest American punk outfit to hitch a ride over the Atlantic to rapturous acclaim. Bigged up by everyone from Steve Lamacq to myself (see live review of Hot Water Music), debut album 'Black Tape' is the first chance UK audiences have had to hear recorded material. The Explosion are bold and loud. ‘Black Tape’ opens with the biblically themed lyrical stylings of ‘Deliver Us’, which mixes James Dean Bradfield-style vocals with shouted backing vocals to good effect. Single ‘Here I Am’ is an example of what American punk bands can, but rarely, do - catchy, fast-paced pop with substance and anger, mixing melody with noise and coming out with successful results. It’s great. Nearly as good is ‘We All Fall Down’, again a pop song more than a punk record (do NOT read that as punk-pop, we’re not talking Blink 182 here!) and again bringing to mind Bradfield from the Manics. It’s good to hear a punk vocalist not afraid to sing. It’s not all good though, and ultimately this is a flawed record. Some of the material here seems very much like filler, which is a great shame as the stuff here which is good is excellent. It's just a pity that songs like ‘Mother’s Cry’ and ‘Go Blank’ seem to have been belted out to fill holes between the good ones. There’s a great deal of promise, especially having seen these boys live, so I wouldn’t write them off, and I certainly wouldn’t not recommend this album.It’s just more an indicator of what’s to come than a classic debut. Green Day really raised the bar for all punk bands with the genre busting ‘American Idiot’, and I’m sure had I listened to ‘Black Tape’ before that was released last year I’d have ranted about how incredible this record was. As it is, it falls somewhat short of being essential. That said, get down and see them play, and give this record a try. It’s better than the majority of punk that comes out these days, but it isn’t going to change anyone’s life.

Track Listing:-
1 Deliver Us
2 Filthy & Insane
3 Here I Am
4 I Know
5 We All Fall Down
6 Mother's Cry
7 Atrocity
8 Go Blank
9 No Revolution
10 Heavyweight
11 Grace
12 Hollywood Sign

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