[sic] Magazine

Exit Calm- The Future Isn’t What It Used To Be

Exit Calm are possibly the loudest band I ever saw in a confined space (the old Proud gallery ’07). Last time I saw them was – rather oddly- the Ben & Jerry’s Sundae festival ’10. They were staggering on both occasions and it is matter of no little confusion to me that they are not selling out a couple of nights at Brixton Academy already. This album may be make or break – they are a very intense act, surely there is only so long they can keep that level of fire in their bellies with little material return. It’s 3 years since their first album, the mystifyingly over-looked Exit Calm . This time they really couldn’t be asked to pull out more stops… classic guitar textures, rhythm as tight as it’s ever been and Nicky Smith has more range to his vocals than before, sometimes a rock growl like Kelly Jones that I’d never noticed before and hitting the higher stuff as well. The album has just enough portentous pretention in its soundscapes, lyrics and titles to be adored by great-coated fan boys but also appeal to the stadium gig-goer in need of anthems and community singing.

‘The Rapture’ that starts the album could refer to the ascension to heaven but seems more of a ‘fuck off’ to doubters and a warning to get with the program or be left out. A quick Cold War Kids gritty opening segues into pure U2 religiosity, ‘The Rapture’ seems to take place where the streets have no name. “You’re In The dictionary next to other bitches” a great if unspecific put down. This mood is mirrored later in ‘Holy War’, though the ghost rider guitar and chugging bass are earthier – the war seems to be against the pointless pop we are stuck with and the purity of love and spirited music will win the conflict. This song is as epic as anything they’ve done before.

‘Albion’ is a state of the nation address, a love song to a bruised landscape that can reclaim its dignity. ‘When They Rise’ is an anthem for the nameless masses with a very tasteful backing, ‘Fiction’ is one of the best tracks you’ll hear this year topped by Rob Marshall claiming his guitar god throne by outdoing The Edge in moody frottage. The album is a soaring triumph, with the odd gentler pit stop (‘Higher Bound’ is a worthy heir to Richard Ashcroft’s doomed romantic). By ‘Glass Houses’ they are reaching for the Pink Floyd heights and by closer ‘Open Your Sky’ they are attaining the level of the celestial Lift To Experience .

Let this album be the torch they carry in triumph rather than to light their pyre, though they deserve a table at Valhalla.

[sic] review – Exit Calm debut

Find out more