Review: The Great Explainer – The Way Things Swell (2010)

Jimmy Roxy is a composer/producer from Madison, Wisconsin. Ever since his dog died, the world has become a cruel, senseless place filled with hateful cats who feel the need to mark their territory in his closet. (Editor note: They made the adjective ‘uncanny’ to describe his ability to articulate music frankly and to the point. If only you heard his description of H•A•M)

The Great Explainer have a fantastic future as a Taking Back Sunday cover band. Their recent EP, The Way Things Swell, is a perfect example of a pop punk band attempting to defy their genre, refusing standard pop hooks and structures, essentially creating a post-rock album with lyrics. They also seem to think click tracks are for phonies, favoring off-tempo drums.

Essentially, The Great Explainers have progressive ambitions, but lack the songwriting resources and harmonic knack to make them a reality. The Way Things Swell is a handful of wonderfully creative moments (ex. The introductions to “Codeine… Bourbon” and “Michael Jordan 666”) hidden in a shitstack of poorly-executed prog-punk. The boys from Jersey need to stop cribbing off of Piglet and embrace their saccharine potential as the next, “Girls Like Boys.”

For fans of: Taking Back Sunday, Coheed and Cambria, Piglet



·      Begins well with a solo guitar, heavy in distortion.  The break into the verse feels awkward, however. A very obvious splicing of bits in the studio.

“I Finally Found My Dreamboat”

·      Goofy enough to overcome it’s hackneyed structure.

“Codeine… Bourbon”

“Michael Jordan 666”

The Great Explainer
Official | iTunes

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    1. says: jimmyroxy

      For most bands, originality is often the desired goal. Obviously, the Great Explainer seeks to do so through disjunct, long-form, song structures and a pop-punk texture. When Motion City soundtrack does this (i.e. “Hold Me Down”), it works. For them, it does not. Instead of distinguishing them as a pop-punk band with progressive tendencies, it only denigrates what could be solid pop tunes. I look forward to what they do in the future, once they learn to balance a desire for structural complexity with aesethic sensibility.

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