Boston punk band The Explosion is making the jump from indie
label Jade Tree to Virgin Records on their latest release, Black
Tape. Surely ready to face the firing squad, especially
considering Black Tape’s considerable anteing of the
pop quotient since 2002’s Flash, Flash, Flash,
The Explosion really have nothing to worry about. Sure, first
single “Here I Am” is borderline pop-punk, but its
heartfelt pleas and paranoid prophecies are scenes away from the
“she didn’t return my phone call” variety.
Frontman Matt Hock delivers his public service announcement with
urgency, asking “Whatever happened to the golden age /
It’s gone, yeah, it’s gone away.” These
days-of-’77 revivalists are still pining for the past, back
when punk rock was dangerous.
That being said, The Explosion are not going to lead any kind of
revolution; they’re just going to talk about it.
There’s no overt politicking done here, like their
counterparts in the Warped Tour community. Hock’s message is
rooted in the “Revolution Rock” of the Clash and the
purported anarchy of the Sex Pistols. On “No
Revolution,” Hock makes it clear that he’s got his head
craned backward. “We look to the past and ask for nothing
more / There’s no revolution anymore.” With mentions to
fallen heroes and prayers for redemption, it’s clear The
Explosion don’t want to carry the torch; they just want to be
soldiers in the fight. Unfortunately, they’re 20 years too
Still, the spirit is there, and it makes the whole album feel
pleading and despairing, burning for attention. And the vagueness
works. Hock sounds dead serious and that’s what matters.
Ultimately, the band is cultivating their cynical mentality well,
pulling the listener in to their tales of small time tragedies and
putting forth a general sense of hopelessness with just a touch of
resignation to the situation. Go ahead, “Sell the Hollywood
sign / We’ll still sing our favorite songs.”
They’re young, brash and snotty. They keep the songs
short, choppy and to the point. They’re not pushing the
boundaries, just making good punk records. How many bands can
really say that right now?
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.