Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Album Review :: Exit Calm - The Future Isn't What It Used To Be
The Future Isn't What It Used To Be
September 23 2013 (Club AC30)
Words: Dave Beech
From the first moments of opening track 'Rapture' it's clear that Barnsley's Exit Calm are a band with an exceptional amount of talent and an inordinate amount of ideas. New album 'The Future Isn't What It Used To Be' is a record that defies any sort of categorisation. From the optimistic and anthemic exhibited in the likes of 'When They Rise' to the frenetic break-beat appreciating 'Albion' each track offers something different, something new. Rarely can a band merge this many influences and ideas in a record and still come across this coherent, this natural.
Kicking off proceedings, the aforementioned 'Rapture' drowns the listener instantly in a shoegazey, wall-of-noise that is nothing short of uplifting. It's the kind of song that Tom Clarke of The Enemy fame might have wished he could have written, and it's a testament to what Exit Calm are capable of. Conversely the final track 'Open Your Sky' is a slow and melodious affair which sees a delicate guitar work in tandem with a soft bass and some of the best drumming on the record.
Each instrument featured across the nine tracks has been meticulously and expertly produced. 'Holy War', for instance, features an ominous, rolling bassline that is completely decipherable above the tenacious percussion and wailing guitars. It's this kind of attention to detail when mixing and mastering that suggests more than just musical talent, it suggests an intelligence and a confidence in your music.
'The Future's Not What It Used To Be' is an album that easily needs several listens before its subtle nuances can be truly appreciated. Put simply there is so much going on that even on a third or fourth play, new elements reveal themselves, both lyrically and musically. For example, 'Fiction' sees drummer Scott Pemberton using a tambourine at a couple of moments, but it wasn't until a fifth listen that I noticed it anywhere but the start of the solo.
There's a reason that Exit Calm have been dubbed “one of the best guitar bands in the last 25 years” and 'The Future...' is it. There are so many different facets at play within just nine tracks that it really is difficult to pinpoint and explain their sound. There is a tinge of 60s psychedelia, 90s infused shoegaze - sometimes even within the same track. It's bold, it's brash and above all, it's brilliant. A record everyone should check out.