The Exploding Hearts
Green Day’s first two albums will always hold a special place in heart. Their bratty, careening take on pop through a punk/metal filter and their loner/sexually frustrated lyrics were a perfect combination for me at 15. Pop-punk’s edge has been long dulled thanks to too many derivations and my changing tastes have, for the most part, allowed me to shut any new entrants onto the scene out of my radar range. The Exploding Hearts’ debut happened to be released during this era and despite its critical acclaim from (semi) reputable sources, I didn’t pay it any mind, which, I’ve come to discover, is entirely unfortunate. In the wake of the van accident tragedy shortly after that album’s release that claimed the lives of three of the group’s four members, the band’s singles, outtakes and alternate mixes are presented here as an epitaph to a group that could have revived a stagnant genre.
There’s really nothing inherent in these songs that sets The Hearts apart from others of this ilk, but the songwriting and delivery of the group reeks of stale beer from the ’80s post-punk scene. There are dashes of glam, straight-up punk and bar band rock ‘n’ roll sweat-stained into these songs. At their best they sound like The Replacements, as on “Modern Kicks,” when they trade in the chugging power chords for some semblance of melodic guitar leads. Likewise with “Throwaway Style” and its roughed up girl group beat. There’s a feeling of authenticity to this group’s sound that gets glossed over by many of the more popular acts. From the distorted vocals and sloppy beginner’s guitar solos to the invective pointed at today’s youth and their ex-girlfriends, these guys were punk beyond simple genre branding. It might not be as satisfying a listening experience as their full-length, but for an odd ‘n’ sods compilation this definitely merits more than a casual listen.
Dirtnap Records: www.dirtnaprecs.com