Review Summary: Running round the town with the wasted girls...
If you're going to name your band after an Australian pro-euthanasia group, odds are you're not going to play safe. Cardiff trio Exit_International comprise one drummer and two singing bass players who ensure that a lack of guitars pose no obstacle to crafting insanely loud noise rock. The crowdfunded Our Science Is Golden
is a triumphant follow-up to their Welsh Music Prize nominated debut, Black Junk
, delving into an equally explosive, though significantly more polished approach to sonic devastation.
While the dual bass onslaughts of Cop Shoot Cop and Girls Against Boys have certainly affected their style sonically, Scott Lee Andrews and Fudge Wilson ingeniously modulate their bass lines to fit primal musical excursions of their own. Their music is still punk as hell, yet the act's aural assault is far from sloppy. On the contrary, the bass work is often incredibly complex, precise and diverse. Not only do the musicians provide the rambling bass grooves, but also effectively emulate guitar leads and deliver the distorted walls of feedback to unnerving effect. Drummer Adam Thomas breaks through the noise with driving fills that make the songs truly dynamic. On top of that, the outfit packs their music with black humor-tainted hooks, reveling in overt pop sensibilities: their favourite line seems to be “shalalalala.” Just like its predecessor, though, Our Science Is Golden
relies on a dexterous vocal interplay of the two bassists who swiftly alternate between assured cleans, menacing falsettos, rhythmic chants and feral screams.
In effect, the album is as punishing and idiosyncratic as it is oddly accessible. Case in point, 'Nitro Zoo' contrasts violently punctuated outbursts with the chorus that blasts one of the strongest hooks of the year. Andrews exclaims: “Running round the town with the wasted girls / Crawling on the floor of the nitro zoo,” which neatly encapsulates the trio's irreverent attitude. Another highlight follows with the paranoid stomp of “Fuck Yeah! Depression.” The song wouldn't feel out of place on Future Of The Left's early records given its frenzied transitions interspersed with unapologetic hardcore punk sections. 'Black Jesus (Pink Pound)' goes even further in this raucous direction trading hooks for a vile skewering of organized religion. “Black Jesus loves me the comics told me so,” Andrews yells maniacally at one point. The only blunder comes with the chorus vocalizations of 'Crux' which sound overly similar to those patented by The Offspring.
Elsewhere, the title track smooths over the trio's propulsive energy with its ballad-like quality enhanced by powerful clean vocals, unusually profound lyrics and a dash of unrest. 'The Nein Tease' even further expands their sonic palette, juxtaposing subdued verses with an invigorating post-hardcore chorus embellished with robotic chanting to bracing effect. On the other hand, aptly titled closer 'Sod Off Punk' makes great use of non-linear transitions and dynamic shifts in tempo, inviting comparisons with disbanded The Blood Brothers.
It's commendable how shrewdly Exit_International draw inspiration from other artists. Although the trio's influences are often easy to pin down, they largely manage to steer clear of mimicry, remaining singular in their deranged approachability. They also don't treat themselves too seriously peppering the lyrics with ringing nihilistic declarations and wacky cultural references ('Kojak Rollkneck'). The message received from Venus in 'The Nein Tease' says “bring me fire,” and that's precisely what Exit_International do in a nutshell. Our Science Is Golden
is a high-octane stab of efficient noise rock that keeps the listeners enthralled while simultaneously threatening to destroy their eardrums.