Home For An Island
Why is it that every time a band plays a little bit of punk and a little bit of reggae, everyone feels compelled to compare them to The Clash? That’s like comparing a kid who’s just had his first guitar lesson to Hendrix. The Clash left a pretty big pair of shoes to fill, and few bands ever come close to slipping them on. When I see The Clash’s legacy of great music used as an adjective to describe a new band’s sound, it puts one strike against said band even before I give their music a listen. The condemning comparison is made on this band’s website and again in their press release.
Personal bias aside, I stick The Exit’s new release, Home For An Island, into the stereo and give them a chance. The first song, “Don’t Push,” starts slowly with soft guitar chords and a light voice that sounds so familiar. The groove is kind of dreamy, and the drums are tribal… That voice… “Who the hell does that sound like,” I think to myself? It’s a bit like Sting, but that’s not it…
Then it hits me. Adam Duritz, the singer for the mid-’90s alternative band Counting Crows. Suddenly this CD is reminding me of all of those one and two hit wonders from a decade ago: Toad the Wet Sprocket, Gin Blossoms, Goo Goo Dolls, Blues Traveler. Where are those bands today, and does anybody really care?
The Exit started out as a pop-punk band when they formed in 1999. Their first record, New Beat, had the generic Good Charlotte appeal that seems so popular among the kiddies these days. For their follow up, they have broadened their spectrum a bit, steering away from their attempt at punk and into the realm of dub. I applaud them for the effort, but most of the result ends up sounding like a rip-off of The Police. Still, it’s a step in the right direction.
And though Home For An Island is far from a fantastic record, it has its moments. “Back To The Rebels,” a song about living in an age when the wealthy 1% make all the decisions and pretty much sell the rest of the country out to turn a profit, reveals a maturity in the band’s sound that far exceeds the rest of the record. If they write more songs of substance like this, and continue to explore the sandy beaches of the dub sound, perhaps their next release will be something worth giving another listen to.
The Exit: www.theexitrocks.com