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When I Explode

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Album Review

It's been said that imitation is the highest form of flattery, but if the Dismemberment Plan were an adjective, the term would stick to Missouri/Illinois dance-punk outfit So Many Dynamos — read it backward — like a sea lamprey on a Midwest game fish. The good news is that for the most part they pull it off, blending angular guitar licks with deep, rhythmic synths, overdriven drums, and the pained vocals of frontman Ryan Ballew into a disco ball of angst that would make the perpetually depressed Travis Morrison do the backspin. When I Explode is relentless in its execution, a compliment to the preternatural rhythm section. Handclaps fuel the brutal "Heat/Humidity" into a full dervish spin with murderous intentions — "God, you make a lot of noise in the trunk of my car" — and hard-panned guitars riff off of the opening lick to "Marquee Moon" with dizzying results on "When We Were Machines." Despite the occasional dud — the whiny, obligatory heroin overdose song ("These Things Happen") — When I Explode manages to simultaneously celebrate the object of its affection and decree it dead without losing sleep over either.

Biography

Formed: 2002 in St. Louis, MO

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Taking cues from Les Savy Fav and the Dismemberment Plan, St. Louis' So Many Dynamos formed in late 2002 and includes Ryan Wasoba (guitar/vocals), Aaron Stovall (keyboard/vocals), Griffin Kay (guitar/vocals), and Clayton Kunstel (drums). Following an EP on Ambivalent Records in summer 2003, So Many Dynamos released its debut full-length, When I Explode (mixed by the Dismemberment Plan's Jason Caddell), in 2004 on Skrocki Records. Flashlights, which expanded the band's sound with a four-piece horn...
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When I Explode, So Many Dynamos
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