Punk has been dead for years, but it still has a phoenixlike ability to flare up from the ashes, particularly when it confronts its own futility. Flash Flash Flash (Jade Tree), the first full-length from the Boston five-piece the Explosion, fires off 14 old-school anthems in 28 minutes, and to the band's credit they often forgo the usual authoritarian targets to excoriate themselves and their fans. "We know they made mistakes but we still imitate / Keep the spirit alive when there's nothing at stake," sings Matt Hock on "No Revolution." "Would they shake their heads, would they feel ashamed / Fists in the air for a fucking name." On "Broken Down and Out," salvaging a friendship becomes a political cause when, as Hock acidly observes, "Fifteen minutes of talking hard equals fifteen minutes of pain / A lifetime with your closest friends is one never lived in vain." And the singer of "Outbound Line" hears songs in his head but finds the lyrics wanting: "There must be something to be said / But those words are falling dead / And my ears are ringing true again." I caught these guys at the Fireside Bowl last year, immediately after they'd made a long drive into town, and they were about as explosive as a free ad paper. But it's about time someone admitted that the kids are far from all right, and perhaps at this show, the first on a two-week tour with Face to Face, they'll be inspired to live up to their incendiary lyrics. Saturday, February 17, 6 PM, Riviera Theatre, 4746 N. Racine; 773-275-6800 or 312-559-1212.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Tim Owen.