There comes a time in everyone’s life when they hear an album and go, “Hey, this album is really good.” Sometimes they even go as far as saying, “Superb,” “Killer,” or “Rocktastic.” Well, that last one is what I would say when I listen to The Exploding Hearts last album… ever. If anybody is dumb enough to think they called it quits like other bands, think again. They were in a tragic accident, which makes for no new albums this side of the spectrum of life.
One of the most promising bands to ever come out of Portland’s music scene, Exploding Hearts had been offered a deal from Lookout! Records (Green Day’s old stomping grounds) in San Francisco. They were on their way home when their van veered and crashed on the road, killing three of the four members. Adam Cox (singer, 23) and Jeremy Gage (drummer, 21) died at the scene while Matthew Fitzgerald (bassist, 20) died later at a hospital. Terry Six (guitarist, 21) only suffered minor injuries.
Old school garage punk has been in demand as of late and The Exploding Hearts’ last album, Guitar Romantic, did not disappoint one bit. It’s just sad sometimes, listening to these happy kids sing and play their hearts out and know it’s their last recorded work. Being a big fan of The Undertones made me listen to this album and start to compare it to such great albums such as The Undertones’ self-titled album, with such great songs as “Teenage Kicks” and “Girls Don’t Like It.”
Guitar Romantic, if listened to by the right people, will be a classic punk album in years to come. When you hear Adam singing on such tracks as “Modern Kicks,” “You’re Black and Blue” and “Jailbird,” it’ll give you chills to know this band made this album in the year 2003. A mix of The Undertones, with the pop sensibility of The Buzzcocks and the kick-your-ass power of The Clash makes this album a “can’t miss.”
Don’t just download a few tracks, buy the album. Bring this band the legacy it truly deserves. I give it 9 punk power chords, for blistering aggression that makes this an album that is a keeper.
Written by James McCormick.