Punknews.org
The Explosion - Black Tape (Cover Artwork)

The Explosion

The Explosion: Black TapeBlack Tape (2004)
Tarantulas Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: boxcar001101boxcar001101
(others by this writer | submit your own)

The Explosion is not a revivalist band. They may have been at one point, but they no longer are. To lump them with revivalists would suggest that there was some level of calculated choice in the music they play. (And no matter how good Flash Flash Flash was, it felt like that at some points.
iTunes StoreAmazon


The Explosion is not a revivalist band. They may have been at one point, but they no longer are. To lump them with revivalists would suggest that there was some level of calculated choice in the music they play. (And no matter how good Flash Flash Flash was, it felt like that at some points.)

So how is Black Tape? Simply put, it has teeth. It grabs the listener immediately, and it's grasp only gets stronger. Sure, it may be a polished record, but it is honest and, in turn, vicious.

Starting off, the record is hurt by how good a handful of the songs are (and how weak "Deliver Us" is as an opener). The anthemic, almost Cheap Trick-esque, "Here I Am" is instantly memorable, and that's the problem. There are a few songs on here that are so good, they make the others pale in comparison. As the record begins to sink in, however, the individual strengths of each song become readily apparent.

And the strengths of the songs come from the range of influences that this album claims. Obviously, the Buzzcocks influence is a constant presence, but this time it's not an overriding one. One interesting addition to The Explosion's sound is that of 60's and 70's rock. The sheer catchiness and the sing-a-long choruses that pervade the album would not have been possible without bands like Big Star and the aforementioned Cheap Trick. "Mothers Cry" even begins with a hint of country ala Social Distortion. "Grace" sounds like it could be a cover of a Rolling Stones song, and this is not a bad thing. Think "Rocky Horror Picture Show" without the irony.

Another intriguing aspect of Black Tape is the content of the lyrics. Save for a rerecorded version of "No Revolution" (which sounds grossly out of place, but, with a mention of its original appearance on Flash Flash Flash, it seems more likely to be a promotion of Jade Tree than a marketing ploy), the album lacks the almost sloganeering aspect of their previous work. With the contradictory statements of "I'm starting to see what's in it for me" on "Heavyweight" and "What are we getting out of this?" on "Hollywood Sign," the mood on this album is one of uncertainty. The lyrics tend to lean towards pleading, rather than demanding. There are a few exceptions, sometimes anemic compared to the album as a whole, and sometimes amazing ("Filthy Insane"). Even considering the great lyrical strides made on Black Tape, the lyrics are mostly what keep this album from being a ten. It is extremely difficult to have choruses like this record does and maintain impeccable verse, and, like many others, The Explosion couldn't do it. They are heartfelt lyrics, though, which does make up for the flaws, if only slightly.

Lastly, the musicianship of this album is a step up. Much of their older work suffered in that it felt like constructed patterns of a few chords rather than songs, and the presence of "No Revolution" only helps to point this out. Granted, they were very good patterns, but the songwriting here is seamless. You don't notice how they built the songs, just that they did a very good job doing it. The way the bridge leads into the chorus towards the end of "I Know" needs to be heard. It is powerful, to say the least. The main flaw of the album lies in the songwriting, however. There are parts where an only somewhat inspired verse is allowed to go for too long before a chorus breaks in, or, like in "Atrocity," an entire mediocre song kills the flow of an album better than it is. "Go Blank," although it is a good song, also ruins the flow. Whether it is the production or just the style, it seems out of place on the album, making tracks seven through nine ("Atrocity," "Go Blank" and "No Revolution") the major weak point of the album.

At points this album is both heavier and poppier than anything else The Explosion has done. It is by far the best songwriting of their career, with their weakest point being that they are definitely not an "album rock" band, due to their problems with maintaining a constant feel. While the good songs overshadow the lesser songs in the beginning, after a few listens, the lesser songs aid the great ones in standing out. The biggest help this album needs is the artwork. It's well done, of course, but it suffers from a major label budget without a theme. It's done in a collage style that looks pretty but lacks any permanent impact, which is the exact opposite of the music on Black Tape.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Dead to Me - Cuban BallerinaDescendents - Milo Goes To CollegeLeft Alone - Dead American RadioThe Loved Ones - Keep Your HeartRiverboat Gamblers - To the Confusion of Our EnemiesAgainst Me! - Searching For A Former ClarityFucked Up - The Chemistry of Common LifeCloak/Dagger - Pinata [7 inch]Last Lights - Last Lights [7 inch]The Undertones - The Undertones

Please login or register to post comments.What are the benefits of having a Punknews.org account?
  • Share your opinion by posting comments on the stories that interest you
  • Rate music and bands and help shape the weekly top ten
  • Let Punknews.org use your ratings to help you find bands and albums you might like
  • Customize features on the site to get the news the way you want.
Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
im-dead (June 16, 2005)

Wow,
on the review for the album that receives 2 and a half stars, everyone commenting gave it that same score or less:
claiming it's "mediocre" and what not. Now, on this four star review, everyone is raving about the fucking cd. What a ....coincidence....

What a bunch of sheep, seriously. Screw punk rock credit and form your own opinion instead of just agreeing with the reviewers all the time.

By the way, nice review.

and the explosion are good

Anonymous (May 26, 2005)

I love Black Tape, i've got the advance copy and have been keeping an eye on the posts made in relation to it. Glad people like it, anyone who doesn't doesn't know what music is! :P

joeg (January 17, 2005)

alright. i gave this another chance. i've decided i like it. different but they make it work. good job boys.

joeg (October 22, 2004)

they were great on conan last night.

LiberationFreak (October 22, 2004)

score is for !skatergurl80???????? terrible troll attempt.

boba_fett (October 19, 2004)

Not that I stand behind the review wholeheartedly, but I feel the need to respond to boba.fett.
Musicianship is not the same thing as songwriting.
And the songwriting can be better than it has been before and still be one of the main flaws of the album.
So, with that said, those three statements don't contradict each other, but I do need to pay more attention to how my intended tone comes across in writing, as what I meant would've been clearer.

dont sweat it. people here like to flame so much that i flame now. but normally i dont mean anything by it.

sickboi (October 19, 2004)

Last night Mike Ness accidentally called them "the Exploited".

Anonymous (October 19, 2004)

u idiots r just jelous tat these here guyz are making more mony than your shitty "punk rock bands" like dilinger 4 n strike anywhere! fuck u! i no more about punk rock than any of u morons on this here site! XX(&%^&!!!

!skatergurl80????????

http://www.mtv.com/com munity/profiles/profile.jhtml?username=skatergurl80

Anonymous (October 18, 2004)

Not that I stand behind the review wholeheartedly, but I feel the need to respond to boba.fett.
Musicianship is not the same thing as songwriting.
And the songwriting can be better than it has been before and still be one of the main flaws of the album.
So, with that said, those three statements don't contradict each other, but I do need to pay more attention to how my intended tone comes across in writing, as what I meant would've been clearer.

sickboi (October 18, 2004)

BOPPER-

Your're a fucking professional and you come on here writing like some 14 year old.

And don't tell anyone about "being true", you fucking hack. "Living to play" or whatever that album was turned out to be the pinnacle of your fucking career. I've seen your new "image", yeah, that's really "fresh".

The Explosion still rock, River City Rebels are about on target with River City High....the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked.

Anonymous (October 18, 2004)

not every band signs to a major when they get the chance

Anonymous (October 17, 2004)

¬°Tarantulas is a motherfucking street gang you bitches!

Anonymous (October 17, 2004)

Look you chicken fuckers, don't even start hating out on these guys cause they got signed to a major label, you would have done the same thing. Respect them for doing their own thing, no matter what donkey fuckers liek you think. And it just so happens that this band has lyrical and instumental talent, and they don't sell there souls to end up on fucking MTV. This album has an original sense and represents a new explosion.

boba_fett (October 17, 2004)

Lastly, the musicianship of this album is a step up.
The main flaw of the album lies in the songwriting
It is by far the best songwriting of their career

and

the mood on this album is one of uncertainty

seems to me as though the mood of this review is uncertainty. stop writting. for life.

Anonymous (October 17, 2004)

Hmm..haven't heard this yet, but after hearing the original of 'Deliver Us' (on the 'Sick Of Modern Art' Tarantulas sampler) and the 'Red Tape EP', I'm not rushing out to buy it.

Anonymous (October 17, 2004)

hey BOPPER is Chris from Johnny Law still in your band? i haven't followed anything in a few years.

Anonymous (October 17, 2004)

‚??mothers cry‚?Ě should be the next single. it‚??ll bring The Explosion to the next level. Good band, solid record. My only complaint is the large quantity of songs over three minutes, i just found that to be strange when i looked on the back.

boxcar001101 (October 17, 2004)

That cover is on the Red Tape EP, not the Black Tape LP.

Anonymous (October 17, 2004)

way to not mention the joy division cover

i actually liked it, and i HATE most JD covers

Anonymous (October 16, 2004)

i saw river city rebels in rochester, ny once because it was free and they were total douchebags. the sound guy told them to stop abusing the microphones and such so their badass saxaphone player flipped and got into a fight with security all the while screaming "you broke my horn". i haven't heard this cd and i could really care less about it but the fact that anyone associated with the river city rebels is talking shit is funny

princessdanarchy (October 16, 2004)

"Keep talking you cunts! This band is great. These guys are very smart and very true to what they do.... They swindled a major label and took the money and started a record label to put out bands that are doing somthing fresh. What have you done kids? OH yea you talk shit online!
BOPPER
www.rivercityrebels.com
ps. I'm guessing the same jerkoffs who talk shit on the explosion talk shit on the rebels. Bring it...."

haha. The Explosion are the shit. So, you guessed wrong ass.

Anonymous (October 16, 2004)

For anyone who says "They changed their sound so much", about The Explosion, or any other band who goes to a major for that label (ranging from Blink 182 to Jawbreaker), most of the time, you're probably wrong. If you want a REAL example of a band pulling that, just look up the first Goo Goo Dolls record.

- Little Guy

punkpirate (October 16, 2004)

Everyone is shitting on this band and album just becuase they sign to a major. If this album was on Jade Tree it would have been the greatest thing since Flash Flash Fash. I think this is a great band that make great punk music, major or indie label. This band is 10 time better than most bands out there right now.

boxcar001101 (October 16, 2004)

Eh, it was a bad review, but there wasn't one up when I wrote it, so I wrote it. Feel free to tear it apart. I know I can do better.

Anonymous (October 16, 2004)

Bopper is a faggot. Fuck The Explosion and fuck River City Rebels.

Okay I'm just kidding.

-Flamebaitnickloving

boxcar001101 (October 16, 2004)

Honestly, if it seems like I said a lot of bad things, it's because I was afraid of bloweing my load over. I must've been overcompensating for fear of talking too good about it.
All said, though, I absolutely love this album, but if you love the old Explosion, you'll hate it.

Anonymous (October 16, 2004)

Keep talking you cunts! This band is great. These guys are very smart and very true to what they do.... They swindled a major label and took the money and started a record label to put out bands that are doing somthing fresh. What have you done kids? OH yea you talk shit online!
BOPPER
www.rivercityrebels.com
ps. I'm guessing the same jerkoffs who talk shit on the explosion talk shit on the rebels. Bring it....

Anonymous (October 16, 2004)

Lastly, the musicianship of this album is a step up. The main flaw of the album lies in the songwriting. Horrible album, shitty review. Why does it take so long to write a bad album.

Anonymous (October 15, 2004)

what cd did you listen to? i gave this record 5 minutes, spread between 5 tracks and said fuck it, i can't listen to this shit. this was such an abivous try at being radio friendly that i couldn't take it. fuck these guys. when they opened for rocket from the crypt like 3 years ago i thought they were amazing but they have completely made me go back on that thought

Anonymous (October 15, 2004)

you spent 3/4 of the review shitting on the band and you gave it an 8. ok there.

Anonymous (October 15, 2004)

This review is straight out of the "I love the Explosion and have taste in my mouth so im going to give a shitty CD an 8 just because i love the band"

Exclusive Streams

Sponsored


Newest Reviews

Punknews.org Team

Other Places to Go