It’s simple. Like Punk? Thought the Warped Tour was pretty cool? Then you’ll like The Explosion. The Explosion comes on hard and it comes on fast. Steal This marks the band’s third release as a band and third release in the year 2000.
Punk purists may denounce the band, formed in 1998, for being too well put-together. The band has a clean-cut punk look, follows traditional punk song structure to the nail, and its releases have really good sound quality. But it’s the fact that The Explosion is so polished that makes them stand above most of the other punk bands out today.
Steal This, like the band’s previous release Flash Flash Flash, is composed of throw-your-fist-in-the-air anthems: five songs and nine minutes of punk that doesn’t make you angry as much as it makes you excited. Steal This is a frosted pop tart: quick, sweet, and simple. In fact, the EP is almost pop punk. The cuts on this EP are catchy and often uplifting, and lead singer Matt Hock has a strong punk voice: he’s not just another atonal screamer. Yet, despite their ability to carry a tune and play their instruments, The Explosion is far closer to the likes of the U.S. Bombs and the Buzzcocks than MXPX.
This is especially true when it comes to the vocals. On Flash Flash Flash, Hock yelled out strong catch phrases that rang with truth and irony. In “No Revolution” Hock sang, “We fight each other whenever we get bored / Jaded kids hatred wins and we all lose / Schemes kill our dreams its self abuse.” Yet, while it’s true that Steal This contains smart lyrics, the fact that they are delivered rapidly, alongside such a tight band’s noise, renders them nearly indecipherable. Not that this matters. On the EP’s standout track “E.X.P.L.O.S.I.O.N,” one track that contains lyrics you can hear, Hock simply yells out with invigorating fury, “E-X-P-L-O-S-I-O-N let’s go”.
Think of Steal This as a lesson in what you get at a The Explosion live show. Unlike so many other punk bands, The Explosion puts all the energy and talent they have at their shows onto CD—losing nothing but the stench of moshers’ sweat.