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  Guitar Romantic  
  The Exploding Hearts  
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The Exploding Hearts made power-pop, retro-punk, and they did it very, very well. I picked this CD up in May and it hasn’t left my listening rotation since. Blending an almost perfect mix of Clash ’77 guitar and drum work with vocals borrowed from same era Elvis Costello, they generated two- to three-minute pop confectionary enough to stick to the grimmest sneer.

Guitar Romantic was (and still is) their debut. Ten tracks straight off that lost Buzzcocks LP you wish they’d suddenly find, fuzzed up and cranked out in perfect time. Tragically, this is all we’re likely to get from them. Three members, including the vocalist and bassist, were killed in an accident after a show in San Francisco this fall. Which makes reviewing them a bit of an exercise in morbidity, but worthwhile nonetheless. Considering their obvious punk underpinnings, “live fast and leave a pretty corpse” might be more appropriate than it would elsewhere, and if this album is the extent of that corpse, an exquisite corpse it is.

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