EXPLOSION, THE: Sick of Modern Art: 2 X CD

It’s a double CD deal. One is an EP of the Explosion, the other is an eleven-song sampler comp put out by the label this is on, Tarantula. Shifting slight gears from their full length, Flash, Flash, Flash, they move from the callused hands and blood and sweat of the explicitly working class and full-blown Boston hardcore, to more cerebral, slightly slower, more artful efforts. And it doesn’t suck. Think of the gradual shift that Social Distortion made from establishing part of the Southern California punk archetype then slowly morphed into a more country, rockabilly firm without a complete divorce. All the initial elements are still there, just the priority and presentation are shifted around. With Sick, The Explosion have become slightly more rock – the lyrics are a little more abstract (which works to their benefit), the songs are less crew singalongs and more structured in and of themselves – and I like the transition. They sound more like a band playing for themselves instead of what they expect people think they should sound like. If you liked latter Lifetime, The Arsons, or any crisp, well-recorded modern hardcore (made by outsiders instead of football players), The Explosion are worth the spare change. The comp’s just icing on the cake.

 –todd (Tarantulas)