Album Review: Special Explosion – The Art of Mothering EP

I happened to be perusing Spin’s website and found that they were streaming a new single from up and coming Emo band, Special Explosion. I gave it a listen and was in love with the track as soon as the first caterwaul hit my ear drums. The opening notes of the track, specifically the high energy scream from lead singer, Andy Costello, reminded me a bit of the Pixies but everything after that was strictly the band’s own. The track flows nicely from energetic chorus interwoven through the hushed vocals of Andy and Lizzy Costello. I definitely wanted more.

Nearly 3 weeks later I had a nice little 7 track EP sitting in my inbox. While it’s not anything revolutionary, it’s still a good set of songs from this young band. The presence of female vocals over a majority of the tracks makes them stand out among other emo / indie projects but that isn’t the only thing Special Explosion has going for them.

The EP kicks off quietly with “Avery”, which clocks in at just under a minute and simply features Andy’s voice over echoing guitars. “Clotheslined” is definitely a highlight, showcasing what this young quartet are capable of. Lizzy’s voice accentuates just the right moments of the song and the guitars and drums are impeccable. The song starts simple and subdued before building to the raucous finale and ushering in “Hide”.

The beginning of the album continues strongly with “Kingdom”. The track is often unpredictable musically with its herky-jerky guitars and driving drums. Andy’s vocals bring a 90’s alt rock charm to the song especially when he sings the opening line “Welcome to the Kingdom / I have waited so damn long to see them”. It’s the epitome of emo without becoming whiny or melodramatic.

The last 3 tracks aren’t as strong as the opening 4, but they are still solid songs. “If Only” features a wonderful driving bass line underneath the Costellos’ vocals. “The Art of Mothering Pt. 1” is a short acoustic ballad that allows the Costellos vocals to truly shine as they harmonize sweetly over the simple track. The EP finishes off with the very lush “The Art of Mothering Pt. 2” . It’s a great closer and showcases the instrumental talent of the band.

It may not be perfect but it’s still a damn good start. I’ve listened to it countless times at this point and am anxiously awaiting more and hoping for a live date in the Detroit area.

The Art of Mothering can be purchased Bandcamp, on vinyl over at Topshelf Records, on Amazon, and on iTunes.