Saturday, 16 January 2010

Grey Noise, White Lies
Engineer Records
Rating: 3.5/5

Exeter are a very frustrating band. After their Intra Venus EP, and in particular the strength of the songs 'Pris' and 'Guerra' which spent literally months at the top of my iTunes most played, I was delighted to hear they had a full-length planned. After hearing a preview in the form of the excellent 'Red Dress' featured on Dan Goldin's Exploding in Sound: Bands You Need To Know 2009 compilation, all Exeter had to do was produce an average album and I would have gone apeshit for it. What they did was produce the most underwhelming record of my year.

This is doubly disappointing for two reasons: firstly, the fact that the best songs on the album are truly sensational, and suggest how incredible this record could have been if it were more consistent; secondly, because there are enough of these tracks to make up an EP worth of songs. An EP that, I daresay, would garner an easy 5/5 score from me.

So anyway, to those of you that haven't heard of Exeter, the lowdown is this: a self-branded 'space rock' band that actually play alternative rock somewhere between Deftones, Failure and Radiohead, with some art-rock and proto-shoegaze pretensions. When it works, it's spine-chillingly good. When it doesn't, it's just a set of guitar chords with more meat than melody that fail to capture the imagination.

The EP worth of top-drawer tracks runs thus: 'Bittersweet Vanity', 'The Romantic', which has a chorus that actually might reach escape velocity, 'Red Dress', 'Window' and 'Numb'. 'Everyday Parade' gets an honourable mention, as I like six-track EPs, and although a solid 4/5 it's just good enough to sit with the above tracks. Essential listening: 'The Romantic' and 'Red Dress'. Better luck next time, guys.

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