Sing Four Favorites
A three-piece made up of two former members of The Loose Nuts (whose main claim to fame was an appearance on the American Pie soundtrack) and a former member of the Boston-based Vigilantes, The Exit transcend their past with this brilliant debut EP. How fitting that the band is a trio, as the band they most recall is one of music’s finest trios, The Police. Far from lavish imitators, though, The Exit instead mix that band’s unique, reggae tinged sound with a nice, angular post-punk feel and some good, old fashioned Clash-inspired vitriol and political furor for good measure. While the influences are obviously worn on the band’s sleeves, the way the band mixes them together makes for a sound that’s somehow fresh, vibrant, and alive, and never blindly derivative. The sweet, romantic “The Luckiest Man” is a great example, taking a bass line almost directly out of The Police’s “Walking On the Moon,” then mixing it up with a punkier (though still reggae-oriented) groove and a beautiful acoustic bridge. Adding to the band’s unique flavor is vocalist Benjamin Brewer’s distinctive voice — yeah, a little of his phrasing is obviously influenced by The Clash’s Joe Strummer, but his voice is different enough that it sets him apart while still being suited to the political themes of “Do You Think It’s Alright?” and the art vs. commerce struggle of “Easy Money.” The Exit also have a gift for lyrics, economically telling little stories in their songs. They’re at their most effective lyrically with “Susan,” a subtle look at date rape, but all of their lyrics are surprisingly mature for a band whose oldest member is still too young to drink. In all, Sing Four Favorites ends up being quite presciently titled, as these four songs have become quick favorites. A fine appetizer that leaves me hungry for more from this talented young band.
Downright Records, PO Box 3994, Grand Central Station, New York, NY 10163, http://www.downrightrecords.com