This is a review of "Hexthorpe 1" recorded by Unexploded Shells. The review was written by John Hepworth in 2008.
A posthumous tribute, even if there is the occasional mediumistic tremor on Myspace. Neither too slick nor too coltish, Unexploded Shells’ CD revives an old-fashioned tension in the listener over whether the band will make it to the other end of the performance tightrope without dropping off and landing on the self-destruct button. If their live act had the same feature it must have been an audience-gripper.
With its slightly sinister-sounding title Hexthorpe 1 first brings us punk’s more cheery, warmer-hearted, younger brother (or nephew or grandson) as ‘Nothing Matters Anymore’ skips enjoyably along without either the nihilism or the franticness its title might have frightened you into expecting. After those couple of minutes of fervour, comes what could initially be taken as a sort of dub section when it’s really start of the next song ‘Railings’, moving quite acceptably from a tune resembling the first track to a treatment rather like the work of Wire.
‘Lost Property’ plunges the mood angstwards. But that’s OK - it’s done in a style to invite gloomy indulgence from which you emerge into ‘The B-roads’, a specimen of psychedelic-naïve summer sound, jingly rather than jangly, with a vintage Radio 1 feel that might have stirred envy among the Radio 2 playlisters. In accordance with its spaced-out nature this final song sprawls to almost four minutes, and leaves you unstressed about whether Hexthorpe is just a place near Doncaster or something more.