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explodingboy four
Artist: The Exploding Boy
Title: Four
Genre: Goth-rock/ Post-punk
Release Date: 18th October 2013
Label: Drakkar/ Sony Music

Album Review

Swedish post-punk, Goth-rock band THE EXPLODING BOY clearly spent more time making this album than they did conjuring up a moniker for it. ‘Four’ is, well, their fourth. A steady honing of their style and a patient building up of a fan-base has resulted in easily their most consistent set of songs to date. This is the record that should broaden their appeal while keeping the faithful more than happy.

Things kick-off with ‘Cracked/Reasons’, a guitar driven, melodic post-punk juggernaut that thrusts itself instantly into a killer chorus. It’s formulaic, definitely, but sounds crisp and energetic enough to escape a genre-trap. ‘Street Cliché’, which follows, begins with a stab of icy synth before bursting to life with jagged guitars and a soaring, passionate vocal from singer Johan. And there’s another chorus sat there, smugly, knowing how good it is. There’s a reason this was chosen as a single. It’s matched by first single ‘Dark City (Pt 2 )’, a ramped up ‘Lucretia, My Reflection’, the snarly, gnarly verse leading to a sing-along-in-gloom chorus. Oozing with attitude and deftly handling the light and dark shades that make this so anthemic, it again avoids cliché, and slides itself about admirably between as many genres as you care to name.

But the standout track on ‘Four’ is ‘Runaways’. Emotive singing and melancholy synth washes evoke THE CURE at their most miserable, and it’s epic without being bloated or overwrought. Carefully unfolding its angsty story, this is a complex and impressive song. The line “It’s all right here in the moment” couldn’t be more apt. It towers above everything else here, and ought to become an eyes-closed standout live song at the very least. Good stuff. And not easy to follow, as ‘Awful’ proves. This feels lazy and half-baked, and ‘Shadows’ doesn’t fare much better. A dip in quality control blights the very best albums mid-way through so it’s a relief when things get back on track with ‘Always’, an excellent synth and guitar hook gluing everything tightly together.

There’s a quiet majesty to ‘Get It Out’, a solitary processed beat underscoring a simple lesson in abject misery. A whole album like this would be depressing and oppressive, and that’s one of the secrets to ‘Four’. It has enough variation to keep it almost constantly afloat. And things draws nicely to a conclusion with ‘Scared To Death’, a lively acoustic strum and an addictive guitar refrain over a chanted vocal. Again, it’s complex but sounds simple. A heartbeat heralds the end, and it’s a job well done. This is a good, solid album, and with a bit of trimming it could be a great one. The song-writing shines through, and whereas it’s easy to identify the kind of fans ‘Four’ will attract, it’s strangely uninfluenced on the whole, and therefore comfortable in its own skin.


01. Cracked/Reasons
02. Street Cliché
03. Going To Hell
04. Dark City (Pt 2)
05. Runaways
06. Awful
07. Shadows
08. Always
09. Get It Out
10. Scared To Death


Johan – Vocals/Acoustic guitar
Stefan – Vocals/Electric guitar
Les – Lead Guitar
Nick – Keyboards


Cover Picture

explodingboy four


Music: 8
Sound: 8
Total: 8 / 10

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