Special Explosion - The Art Of Mothering (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Special Explosion

The Art Of Mothering (2014)


Wait? What? Another emo-revivalist? Get the heck outta here! That aside, Special Explosion is an aptly-titled little piece of genius that have a tendency to mix so much of a low-key, relaxed musical ambiance in with loud bursts of indie-rock, that their name settles out really well. The Art Of Mothering is their most candid, resonating and earnest music to date and bodes pretty well for fans who wanna use this as a jumping-on point as well as for the old support.

Andy Costello's vocals are soothing and bring a lot to the table. He shines on tracks stapled to a calmer tempos that remind a lot about bands like Dowsing, American Football and Penfold. Their indie essence has traces of math-rock to it that really accentuate the band as a less-pacy Into It. Over It. at times. "Clotheslined" is tightly-knit around powerful drumming and epic hazy guitars. The tinges of distortion work well as Sebastian Deramat and Costello really give a great account on the strings. They bring a lot of loose-fitted tension into the majority of the record through candied, whirling pop sounds.

Their sharp riffs and catchy hooks match Jacob Winihan's drums nicely, with the latter's work the biggest standout on the album. His shots are daunting, backed by perpetually crashing cymbals and a louder-than-usual bass. "Hide" pans out in the same fashion but what's to note, is Lizzy Costello, on both tracks, strengthens their indie feel with mesmerizing back-up vocals. It's melodic matched in with a bit of discord, calmness in a bit of messiness but it's an open, honest and exposed sound. Their songs are a tad long and this musical exposition, no doubt, brings about a freedom and vulnerability.

They don't spin too many new yarns on a sound that's fairly familiar but nonetheless, it feels fresh. It's nice to not hear them reinventing the wheel but still avoiding falling into an austere trap of a sound. Each track flows seamlessly into the next with "If Only" coming off as a nice homage to Mineral. It has a furtive indie/alternative feel to it yet comes off with subtle 80s tones through Andy's voice. There are balladry and anthemic essences worked into each tune which adds a lot of diversity to the musical profile of The Art Of Mothering. The title tracks are split into two with "Pt. 1" coming off as a Tigers Jaw meets Silversun Pickups short acoustic and is another cute little fit of honesty. Nothing too special yet it works in its simplicity and creates an appropriate canvas for "Pt.2" to roam. The dancing guitars and a little Pity Sex vibe shine with the start-stop rock flow to this track. Well-timed distorted solos and melody-changes to compensate really distinguish this as a kickass closer. These little intricacies accomplish so much in an album whose composition utilizes its disjointed sound so well.

Special Explosion puts out yet another concise record that does their usual shtick - quirky guitars for depth, filling the empty spaces with a lot of cymbal hits and catchy, nifty soloing. As the album title indicates too, they've matured pretty well music-wise. The quartet have produced a great, cloying piece of emo that has enough verve and spunk to last the entire year and with this kind of material, whatever praise they garner, is well worth the time and shout-outs. What a great listen!