The Exploding Boy

Label: Drakkar/Sound Pollution
Three similar bands: The Cure/Nirvana/The Orders
Rating: HHHHHHH (7/7)
Review: Caj Källmalm
1. Cracked - Reasons
2. Street Cliché
3. GoingT o Hell
4. Dark City Pt. II
5. Runaways
6. Awful
7. Shadows
8. Always
9. Get It Out
10. Scared To Deat

Johan Sjöblom (Vocals & Guitars)
Lars ”Les” Andersson (Lead guitars)
Stefan Axell (Vocals & Guitars)
Nick Isgren (Synth & Programming)

The Exploding Boy (2007)
Afterglow (2009)
The Black Album (2011)


Produced by: The Exploding Boy
Co-produced by Johan Syrén
Studio: Kodji Studio & Debka Studios - Stockholm [SE]

Released 2013-10-19
Reviewed 2013-10-20


In 2009 The Exploding Boy made an album called 'Afterglow' that today is one of only 90 albums that Hallowed has reviewed with a top score, which is what we call albums with a grade on or above 6/7. 90 albums in over six years of reviewing and currently over 1500 albums - and only 80 of these were new albums. Ten were so called "classics" that was re-reviewed. It's not a bad score for a band that then did their second album. Unfortunately I never heard the third album by the Swedes, called 'The Black Album' but I'm guess I have to check it out now when I'm done with 'Four'… for now.

Because sure, I could have been done with 'Four' and putted it away forever, had it been a bad album. But this is one of only 78 bands that have reached our top scores so would a band that's so exclusively good do a bad album? Well, there's always a chance but hardly - 'Four' has to be a perfect album. Right?

If only I could say that 'Four' continues where 'The Black Album' left us that would be great, but since I haven't come to the point of hearing that album yet I still consider their third album an enigma. However I might return to that album later on but for now I can say that the second album, 'Afterglow' that got a 6/7 review, by comparison a warm up - 'Four' is surely the main act if you compare the two. This is a really good album and maybe not the best album ever made I think it's definitely one of the best I've heard. I've played it 33 times when I write this and I have no plans of stopping here because it's really nice, easy to listen to and with 39 minutes even has a perfect length.

The 39 minutes that the album goes are divided up on ten songs and the sound they fill the 39 minutes with is a dark shaped rock music. And by dark I don't mean the black metal view on dark with grooowling and hooowling but the kind of dark feeling you get from such things as The Cure, Nirvana, the video game Final Fantasy VII or the movie Dark City - a kind of dystopic, toned down darkness yet not completely pitch black. I see it as a kind of November-ish darkness where the trees are bare and the sun light fades early while the streets are wet from all the downfall and as we're in the city there's also street lights and car headlights that gives some spots of illumination instead of the country side blackness. But it's still very dark in a big city under the November night and you never know what lures in the shadows created by isolated spots of light so in a way it's as we feel the hope and comfort of the lights but we still fear the mystic drama that might be hiding in the surrounding darkness. It's kind of like Edward Scissorhands actually - you know it's not for real from the unrealistic backdrops and such but it's not because it's badly made - it's made to be that way and yet you're intrigued by the whole story with real people and real things in this fantasy landscape.

The street lights of 'Four' gives this album depth and interest more so than it had been if the darkness had been complete the way it goes outside the big city. The music is dressed in gothic suits but the shoes scream indie rock and the hair is more in the punk rock simplicity fashion in contrast to the otherwise quite complex work of art. Meanwhile I think the melodies flows as simple and genius as melted butter in some sort of butter pipe. 'Four' is at the same time ?KUSLIG? as it is a pure joy to hear and they've certainly polished their sound in to a shiny piece on this fourth album. You can hear that it's not perfect, that they create the same kind of obvious illusion as already mentioned Edward Scissorhands or Tim Burtons Batman but you also hear that had they made this album sound like something else… like the new Batman triology by Christopher Nolan it just wouldn't be as charming, nor as good. It's the mix between real and fantasy that makes it, the mix between great music and fictional sounds.

I really like the voice of Johan Sjöblom, also the hypnotic sound of the guitars that confuse you as much as the exterior shots in Beetlejuice and I really like the sound of Nicklas Isgrens electronic work, which somehow feels like half of this band (even though that's not true off course). Compared to 'Afterglow' that was my last reviewed album from this band (and the album we then do best to compare with even though they've released and album between these) I think 'Four' has so much more to listen to and so many more different kinds of songs and sounds. They've definitely improved on both their sound and style and in my opinion this is the best album by the band. The best track of the album is also my favourite track by the band and it comes at the very end of the album, concluding the album by making us Scared To Death. I don't think this album lacks anything at all (except maybe dur-chords and bad songs, but I don't know if that's something ypu'd need anyway).

Bang, boom - straight to the moon! The Exploding Boy cracks up another bang with this album! 'Four' should be the easiest buy of the year!




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