This review is of the fashionably late variety, with Exit_International’s debut album having been out since September, but so what? Eschewing guitars in favour of a streamlined two bass guitars and drums setup, these boys have put me in the mood for rule breaking. And therein lies the genius masterstroke of this band: sonically they are so unconventional that, like Death From Above 1979 before them, they can write with the structure of pure pop, but it will still always sound (to quote one song on the album) totally ‘Bad Ass’.
With Fudge Wilson and Scott Andrews’ voices duelling with the same committed ferocity as their fat-stringed axes, this is 33 minutes of kissing, groping, fondling, dancing, grinding, screaming and shouting that’ll make you feel like, well, you’ve just been to an Exit_International gig. Listen to it on a banging set of speakers or headphones and you can really appreciate the time and effort that the band and their producer Carl Bevan have put in to making what could have been a limited sonic palette as diverse and interesting as possible. The answer: effects pedals. Lots of them. Vocal effects, bass effects, more bass effects, and different micing of drums and percussion all combine so that when Andrews sings ‘I’m hearing voices’ on the aptly named ‘Voices’, you believe him – because you are too.
‘Voices’ is one of the stand out tracks, but you could pick out any number of ‘My Mouth Is Your Mouth’, ‘Bad Ass’, ‘Bowie’s Ghost’ and ‘Chainsaw Song’, all of which take the tight economy of Girls Against Boys and ally it to the frenetic what’ll-they-do-next hysteria of Blood Brothers. They’ve got choruses too. The type that hook into the fleshy bits around your hips then shake them like sinister groovy puppet masters.
They may share their name with a pro-euthanasia website but, really, don’t do it. Have a listen to this monster of an album instead – you’ll be up and about in no time.