The Special Bombs - Eruptions (Cover Artwork)

The Special Bombs

Eruptions (2020)

SBAM Records

When you look at the cover art for the debut album by The Special Bombs, you get a pretty good idea of what to expect, both lyrically and sonically. The record features stories about pent up emotions, best expressed through explosive sounding street punk.

Hailing from Germany, the band cites The Flatliners, the Bouncing Souls, Alkaline Trio, and Dropkick Murphys (among others) as influences. Some of that is evident on Eruptions, but it doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story. Upon my first few listens, it reminded me a lot of Bombshell Rocks and Booze & Glory. It has that working class feel, high toned guitars, gruff vocals, great melodies, and tons of harmonies throughout the 10-track record. But the band also shows an ability to alter their sound slightly and blend the various punk rock genres seamlessly. Take “Swim Upstream” as an example. The song starts with a chord driven bass line that compels the listener to think it’s going to be a mid-tempo song. But after 10 seconds, it jumps into a skate punk rhythm with an octave laden melody reminiscent of Lagwagon or Good Riddance. And for the rest of the song, the tempo and sound changes often without sounding completely unpredictable. This idea is prevalent throughout the rest of the record as well.

I’ve written it in reviews before, but it’s worth saying again. I’m always amazed when a band sings in English when it’s not their first language. Despite this, the songs on Eruptions are well written and there doesn’t seem to be much of a language barrier here. Many of the songs are written as observations on life, focusing on the strengths of friendship and community, but also focusing on facing everyday struggles. The lyrics are specific to the band, but they are easily relatable to most listeners.

For a debut album, this sounds pretty damn tight, and that has a lot to do with the band’s ability to write songs based on their aforementioned influences without sacrificing any originality. The vocal delivery is a pretty good example of this. The singer has the ability to change dynamics, oftentimes without the listener even recognizing it. At times, it’s difficult to tell if he’s singing high or singing low. It reminds me a lot of Al Barr (Bruisers, Dropkick Murphys). But it also has a lot to do with the musicianship. The ability to change rhythms and blend styles is possible because of the tight drumming and sharp, cutting guitars and bass. With this mix of sound and style, the band is sure to pick up some new fans.