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The Explosion

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Jade Tree

They'll be dismissed by those who don't take the time to listen as just another pseudo-punk band with high ideals and a strange devotion to The Buzzcocks and Stiff Little Fingers. An MTV-loving friend of mine upon hearing them on my car stereo compared them to Green Day and The Offspring (ugh!), until we got to "Terrorist" and "The Ideal" and he noticed that we were driving about 90 in a 45.

This Boston 5-piece sports a gnashing, double-guitar attack that epitomizes their name. The punk part is obvious, but the high-end production (this is no DIY job) and rock-and-roll arrangements push it over the edge from stereotype to head rush. Vocalist Matt Hock knows how to sing punk with melody -- he's not just another atonal howler. And everything else just plain rocks with a blistering intensity that Offspring/Green Day could never touch on their best day.

These fist-in-the-air anthems aren't so much about angst as anger, frustration and warning, from another loser trapped in a plastic, corporate world he never made. He may be too weak to escape, but he's strong enough to gather forces. We've heard it all  before in the first two punk waves, but Hock and company have managed to put a new shine on this very old apple, thanks to unbridled chutzpah and ability to write a damn fine hook. Each compact, 3-chord ditty sports a sonic nugget nestled among the power chords and at least one clever line per song. Inspirational verse: "On the edge of tomorrow/What are we fighting for?/We fight each other/Whenever we get bored."

Punk purists will cringe at how clean and tidy everything sounds, and yeah, this really is a pop CD, but who cares? It's a huge leap in quality over their first Jade Tree release (which was a rather boring affair), and is easily the best new "punk-pop" CD I've heard in a couple years. Time: 27:22.

back torevhead.gif (1924 bytes)   Published in The Omaha Weekly, June 8, 2000. Copyright 2000 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Rating: Yes