Swedish post punks The Exploding Boy have built quite a reputation for themselves in their homeland and parts of Northern Europe – will new album Alarms! Be the one that busts the joint open for them on a worldwide scale?
It’s hard to put together a credible argument to the contrary. Alarms! Is choc full of chiming, uplifting anthems designed to elevate the spirit of man, a sort of unbeatable mix of the likes of Coldplay, U2 and their big rock ilk which, when it hits the target, does so in spades.
Run Red is the sort of track that would have lit up the radio in 1985, a spine tingling chorus and battering drums driving the song into the brain, forever there to reside. The Day is darker, with a real air of New Order hanging around it, and these two tracks perhaps represent the two extremes of the Exploding Boy spectrum.
Within those points, the whole gamut of eighties-tinged pop rock is run with varying degrees of success, running from the truly delirious (Stop Time) to the merely excellent (Fireland (The End of Dark City)). Pointless Action is epic in feel if not in actual length, the band whipping up crescendos of immense, swirling emotion, whilst final track 11:59 actually is an epic, weighing in at over nine minutes in length. This is the length of time it takes for the band top shovel on layer after layer of sheer, unadulterated lazy intensity, but not a second goes to waste, not a minute is wasted. The track is a triumph of song craft and construction, yes, but the band’s humanity shines through the technicality at all times.
The music here is genuinely effective and affecting, a combination that’s truly deadly in the right hands. And those hands, it would appear, belong to The Exploding Boy.
Alarms! is out now.