Review Summary: Youth, love and sniffing glue never sounded so delicious.
Death is an inevitable part of life. Musicians, despite the inflation of their ego’s , are not larger than life and are far from invulnerable. Fortunately, musicians get to leave behind wonderful legacies in the form of awesome music. And as anyone will tell you, recording artists usually spike in popularity posthumously. Unfortunately, The Exploding Hearts, are a sad exception to that rule.
After what would be their last show in San Francisco, the quartet were heading back home to Portland, Oregon. During the drive, the tour van flipped over killing all but one member of the band. With little popularity outside the Pacific-Northwest and only one LP under their belt, it comes as little surprise how small of an impact the Hearts had. However, “Guitar Romantic” is undoubtedly one hell of an album.
Immediately, after starting up “Guitar Romantic“, listener’s are graced with two of the strongest songs in the Heart’s repertoire; 'Modern Kicks' and 'I’m a Pretender'. Both songs are an explosion of raw punk energy, vicious pop hooks and delicious rock riffs. Of course, the songwriting and lyrics are equally as catchy, energetic and raucous as the instrumentation.
Following what may be two of the most timeless and explosive expressions of youth via punk and pop fare, the album eases up while still remaining catchy. Then as if to show off some diversity, mid-album the Hearts play a light piece full of guitar jangle penned 'Sleeping Aides and Razorblades'. Ironically, despite it being unlike the preceding songs, it happens to be the strongest. Towards the albums end, the songs mostly return to previous form, with the exception of the bluesy 'Boulevard Trash' and the acoustic intro of 'Jailbird'. Soon thereafter, as quick as it started, “Guitar Romantic” ends with another brief explosion of a song about a lover long gone and sniffing glue.
Immaturity is reveled in, none of the songs run deep in meaning, and by now, “Guitar Romantic” isn’t super original. On the other hand, sniffing glue never sounded better, youth rarely felt as exuberant and love songs of all manner never sounded so fresh. Furthermore, almost every song is strong, the production couldn’t have been better, and few albums make such a deliciously addictive combo out of pop and punk.