Jeff DaRosa (Bass/Vocals), Gunnar (Drums/Vocals), Ben Brewer (Guitar/Vocals)
Home for an Island by The Exit is the second album that Wind-Up Records sent us to review. And as Glenn really enjoyed People in Planes I fell in love with The Exit’s seamless fusion of punk, dub reggae, and pop.
Before going into the actual review, let me just give you a brief background of The Exit. The New York City trio was originally formed in 1999 by Ben Brewer (guitarist/vocalist ) and Gunnar (drummer/vocalist) who have been friends since childhood. Jeff DaRosa (Bassist/vocalist) joined the group after Tim Shaya left the band. Home for an Island is the band’s second full album. Previously they released New Beat under Some Records in 2002. Interestingly enough, Home for an Island was originally released by Some Records in 2004, but Wind-Up Records got their hands on it and released a different version of the album in 2005. The rerelease features three extra songs (“Pressure Cooker” “The Sun Will Rise in Queens” and “Warm Summer Days”) the removal of one of the original songs (“Italy”) and the rearrangement of the original track order.
Having said that, I do believe that the album Wind-Up Records sent us provides its listeners with a bit more bite for their buck. But after listening to Home for an Island, I’m convinced that The Exit could adequately provide their listeners with a satisfyingly complete listening experience with just a 5 track EP. Jeff DaRosa’s description of the band’s creative state of mind when they’re recording an album states my point better than I could: “We want to create an ultimate mix tape every time we make an album. You know how people make a shuffle on their iPod? I want to make it feel like with our record you don’t have to skip around because every song is engaging.”
As I alluded to before, The Exit draws from so many distinct influences that you do get that engaging “ultimate mix tape” feel from Home for an Island. Most of the album had a similar feel to that of a release from 311, a band who is well-known for never sticking with a set pattern and is always seeking to experiment with other genres. Interestingly enough, Ron Saint-Germain, who was a producer for 311, is given production credits on this album as well. Additionally, when listening to “Back to the Rebels” I was reminded of Pushing the Salmanilla Envelope by Jimmie’s Chicken Shack, which also contained a lot of genre experimentation. The bittersweet “So Leave Then” provides what is perhaps the album’s most memorable listen. It equally evokes memories of Paul Simon’s classic album Graceland, which was a superb fusion of traditional western pop with South African mbaqanga music, and the edgy reggae stylings from Close My Eyes by The Slackers.
But don’t mistake these comparisons for being proclamations of unoriginality. The Exit has created their own distinct sound from a wide variety of musical influences and used it to provide listeners with a unique aural experience that is called Home for an Island.
Buy Home for an Island by The Exit
The Exit – Let’s Go To Haiti
The Exit – Pressure Cooker
The Exit – So Leave Then
As an experiment, I extracted the above MP3’s with Exact Audio Copy. As a result, they should produce a higher quality sound and they will also have a larger file size, but nothing too huge (4-6 MB).