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The Exies - Head For The Door
by Keavin Wiggins

The Exies had a lot to live up to when it came time to follow-up their major label debut Inertia. That is a lot to ask of anybody. While Head For The Door doesn't quite reach the 5 Star status of Inertia (there is no "Creeper Kamikaze" on this CD), the band did themselves and their past proud with this new album.  Anyone that loved Inertia is sure to welcome Head for The Door with open arms.  Anyone that missed out the last time, has been given another chance to find out what makes The Exies standout from other current bands. 

The Exies kick things off with the grungy and melodic "Slow Drain", packed full of their patented knack for hooks set against raw heaviness. It's a balancing act they excel at. Not ones to rest on a single formula, The Exies slightly mix it up with "Splinter," a song slightly reminiscent of Alice in Chains on steroids. But again when it gets to the choruses that's when the band sinks their teeth "deep into your skin".  This tune has a cool shuffle rock groove that is great to hear at full volume when you're cruising in excess of 75 mph. 

The next song and first single "Ugly" is the closest the band comes to capturing the true magic of the breakthrough songs on Inertia, "Creeper Kamikaze" and "My Goddess". For this one they employ the Nirvana formula of light to heavy with an amazingly captivating melody that sticks like glue to your brain long after the song is over. This is The Exies at their best. 

For the next number, "What you Deserve," the band go off in a slightly different direction. Still grunge and rockin' but divergent from the overall Exies sound. A great song that grows on you after a few listens. The slowed down midsection that quickly builds to climax is a real highlight. 

"Hey You," comes on with a slightly tribal feel and continue with the Alice in Chains vibe. The vocals on the chorus just rock. While the song doesn't have quite the compellingly addictive quality of some of their other songs, it's a nice change up for the album and keeps a cool flow going when you listen from start to finish.  That's one thing I love about the Exies, you do listen from start to finish. There is no skipping ahead to the next song with these guys. 

"Baptize Me" is a shoe-in for a single. "F.S.O.S." is full throated rocker and "My Opinion" keeps the energy level up but from a different musical standpoint. 

The overall feel of this disc isn't as diverse as Inertia, but "Dear Enemy" comes along and brings that vibe. This song skids along the edges of Nirvana but with the key Exies sound. A real highlight that sets the tone for the rest of the album and prepares you for the real change up with the next track. 

"Tired of You" is the power-ballad in this bunch that really stands out from the other songs in temperament. It's a strong ballad and if the band hadn't outdone themselves with "Creeper Kamikaze," this song would pack a lot more power. But as it is, it's a great track on an already great album. 

I know I keep mentioning "Creeper Kamikaze," but that's only because it is such an amazing song that it's hard to measure other songs from this group without using that as the litmus test. 

After the mellowed out vibe of "Tired of You", the Exies kick things back up with "Normal" a powerful rock that again features a tribal like rhythm. This is the sound that Puddle of Mudd try so hard to capture but fail at. 

The Exies make a strong finish with "Don't Push the River," a cool rocker that serves as the perfect encore. 

The buzzword this time around is power. The Exies have the rare talent of hitting you over the head with the rock while making you sing along at the same time. The cliché once again applies with this album, this band does know how to write songs that stick to your brain like glue and you find yourself singing along even the first time you hear the songs. 

The band's major label debut was more in the modern rock/alternative direction while this album went for more of post-grunge feel. That makes Head For The Door a far more focused album than The Exies past two efforts. It still diverse but the overall feel stays within a set envelope of tone and temperament. What made Inertia so great was the fact that it really took off in some truly different directions. What makes this album great is the band capitalize on some of their strengths as songwriters and deliver a consistency this go around. While it is a bit like comparing The Beatles' Rubber Soul to Abbey Road, Head for the Door does sound like it is from the same band, just somewhere further down the road. Musically, it is more than a worthy follow-up and hopefully if the listening public gets a chance to hear it, they will latch on to the same elements that made this jaded critic a big fan of this band. 

Rock is far from dead, The Exies prove that a new generation of bands have what it takes to keep rock alive and well and growing into this 21st century.  With their artful mix of melody and power, The Exies don't compromise in either department and deliver another standout album. 
 



CD Info 

The Exies - Head For The Door
Label: Virgin
Rating
 
Tracks:
Slow Drain
Splinter
Ugly
What You Deserve
Hey You
Baptize Me
F.S.O.S.
My Opinion
Dear Enemy
Tired Of You
Normal
Don't Push The River
Listen to samples and Purchase this CD online

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