One day, a young Mr. John Lennon was lounging about around the campus of the Liverpool College of Art. He was observing a group of rather pretentious students discuss the subject of existentialism. Ever colloquial, young Lennon deigned the group as "Exies," due to their penchant for discussing that which was beyond the scope of their understanding. We all know how that Lennon kid turned out, right? Founded The Beatles
, "more popular than Jesus," eventually murdered, etc. Yeah, I'm sure you have a pretty good grasp on those facts already. However, let's continue on with the story of his coined phrase, "Exie." Well, aside from becoming a private joke between Lennon, his friends, and the members of the so-named clique, Exie would also become a term to describe a group of followers of the early incarnations of The Beatles
. More recently, it would become the name for an L.A. rock band.
The Exies were formed in 1997. The group's first release was their self-titled album on Ultimatum Records, in mid-2000. Though this album is regarded by many to be the band's greatest work, The Exies
is relatively hard to find (though it can usually be obtained through eBay). The Exies would then be signed to Virgin Records in January of 2003, and immediately released their second album, Inertia
. The band's assertion as something of a 21st century Stone Temple Pilots
is fairly evident on their sophomore album. Raw, harsh vocals; edgy guitars; thumping bass; and pounding drums, when combined with plenty of melody, are the perfect mixture for a simple rock n' roll formula. Inertia
is hardly anything groundbreaking, but it is still a solid album, from a solid band.
The album kicks off with its first, last, and only single: "My Goddess." Great vocal work from front man Scott Stevens, when combined with the simple (yet effective) instrumentation makes "My Goddess" an excellent example of The Exies' pure, unfettered talent. "Without" is a rather experimental piece for a band of this nature. Relatively disjointed, it makes up for its flaws with curious lyrics, and an excellent chorus. "Can't Relate" is a slightly more-poppy, lighthearted track. The Exies' talent for wordplay is nearly as impressive as the group from which they borrowed their name. Intoxicatingly catchy songs like "Can't Relate" are the perfect example to accentuate such a point.
"Kickout" is the softest song thus far. With mellow, deep guitars overlaying superb drumming, it's a great change of pace for Inertia
. "No Secrets" starts off slow and deep with some fantastic bass work. As the song picks up, its true glory begins to shine through. Songs like "No Secrets" are prime examples of how well The Exies do hard rock. The title track is another soft song. Fantastic clean guitar riffs, with the most polished vocals yet make "Inertia" a keeper. "Creeper Kamikaze" is a simply fantastic song. It takes everything that's great about The Exies, mixes it together, shakes, and lets fly with fantastic lyrics and wonderful instrumentation. "Creeper Kamikaze" is The Exies' strongest song, in this humble reviewer's opinion, and a "must-listen" from Inertia
"Calm & Collapsed" is probably the weakest song on the album. It doesn't really seem to build off of Inertia
's energy. Rather, it seems to present a brick wall in front of your listening enjoyment. It's not a terrible song, just poorly placed on the track list. "Lo-Fi" is quite the curiosity. The Exies seemed to have tried too hard to make this song something special, and came out with something that's just a little too poppy for this album's mood. However, it's not attractively catchy pop, and therefore seems rather useless. "Irreversible" has an intro that could have easily been played by a mainstream pop-punk band. It's a fairly good song, and a definite improvement over its two direct predecessors. The final song on the album, "Genius" starts off with a melodic acoustic line that's almost reminiscent of The Beatles
. The songs lyrics about a person being in love with an evil genius are certainly the most interesting of Inertia
, but fail to disappoint. "Genius" is a decent enough way to end an album.
As I stated before, Inertia
is nothing spectacularly mind-boggling. For what it is, however, it's a good album. Intertia
may have only racked up about 200,000 copies in the sales department, but that's hardly due to The Exies lack of talent. They're a fine band, and are very worthy to wear the product of John Lennon's imagination as their name. So do them a favor and check this album out. They deserve it.