THE EXPLODING HEARTS
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Power-pop punk only has room for geniuses or Xerox machines; if you're not razor-sharp enough to be a Buzzcock, you better be sneaky enough to steal their riffs out from under them, else your clunky little three-chord love song is gonna sink straight to the bottom of the bargain bin (helloooooooooooooo down there, new Briefs album!). Good thing the Exploding Hearts pilfer with aplomb and personality, playing the Only Ones to fellow travelers the FM Knives' Undertones with a full-length so derivatively perfect—that sounds like an insult, but it's not—that it deserves a Nobel award for clone science. "Boulevard Trash" is half a Nerves ("One Way Ticket"?) song put through twice as many speaker cabinets, "Jailbird" is some British Invasion song we can't quite goddamn place ("The Good's Gone"?), and, with an explosion of too-cuteness we should have seen coming, "Throwaway Style" pinches the prep-school pop of the Strokes—but if the only thing keeping you out of Julian Casablancas' arms is class resentment, have we got some new boyfriends for you! It takes talent to . . . we'll call it . . . sample as expertly as this—those snotty guitar flourishes! Those coy plinky-plink keyboard lines! That hint-of-fuzz production that's as tasteful and cozy as an angora sweater!—and the Exploding Hearts do it more expertly than almost anyone. Also: get their "Modern Kicks" single on Costa Mesa's Pelado Records before you get this—if you're not into B-sides, you're in the wrong trend!