The Exies
A Modern Way Of Living With The Truth



by Dave de Sylvia STAFF
May 11th, 2007 | 11 replies

Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The tepid, grungey arrangements of Head For The Door are discarded in favour of dynamic pop production

It’s back to basics for The Exies with their fourth studio album, the imaginatively-titled A Modern Way Of Living With The Truth. Always a little more studious than the average rock band, taking their cue from John Lennon’s derogatory term for college-level existentialists- philosophers who question and attempt to rationalise the fundamentals of human existence- The Exies nonetheless managed to turn out one of the most artistically redundant rock albums of recent years: 2004’s Head For The Door. It was a surprising turn for a band that just a year earlier had launched one of the decade’s overlooked rock classics; 2003’s Inertia tread the middle ground between power pop, post-grunge and nu-metal, delivering hooks worthy of the Goo Goo Dolls with a light electronic/hard rock dynamic that suggested a less angry, more thoughtful Linkin Park.

Does A Modern Way Of Telling The Truth then strike a middle ground, a spectacular synthesis of promise and expectation"

Who cares" That’s dialectics. Existentially speaking, A Modern Way Of Living With The Truth explores many of the themes expressed on earlier albums- regulation feelings of helplessness, self-doubt and regret- but with a kind of maturity and weariness that suggests real-life failures as opposed to the half-postured cynicism of Inertia. The decision to cover Talking Heads’ ‘Once In A Lifetime’ may be, sonically, a little suspect but the lyrics neatly sum up the progression of lyricist and frontman Scott Stephens’ mindset through the album; he begins confused and disillusioned, with life or with love or with his music, begins to explore alternate paths and eventually finds absolution in the pursuit of his own personal truth- the album’s title in a nutshell.

Sound-wise, A Modern Way… doesn’t stray too far from the core sound of Head For The Door. There’s more variety in material. Opening track ‘Leaving Song’ boasts a folky Damien Rice-like acoustic guitar sequence, allowing Stephens to demonstrate his weathered Westerberg-esque drawl. ‘Stray’ is more-or-less lifts the chorus directly from Nickelback’s ‘How You Remind Me’ and improves upon it by default, but also by design, book-ending the sludgy chorus with a simple but beautifully atmospheric piano motif. For the most part, however, A Modern Way… is a polished slab of ass rock in the vein of the Foo Fighters and Nickelback, Stephens using his strained, Weiland-inspired vocals to lay stadium-sized choruses on top of chunky hard rock riffs.

It’s a mixed bag: lead single ‘Different Than You’ is a throwback to the heights of Inertia, a melodic heavy rock track with mild electronic touches, while ‘Dose’ and ‘Lay Your Money Down’ boast razor sharp riffs and hooks to match. In relation to the last record, though, production is the major area of improvement, coming courtesy of Nikki Sixx’s writing partner James Michael. The tepid, grungey arrangements of Head For The Door are discarded in favour of a dynamic pop production which allows Stephens to incorporate more nuance a la Inertia. Even so, the second half can’t fend off monotony for long as the initial burst of quality gives way to inferior melodies and dour mid-tempo rock in the form of ‘These Are The Days’ and ‘My Ordinary World.’

Writing off the entire second half of the record, A Modern Way Of Living With The Truth would have made a smashing EP. Get ready to lunge for that stop button.

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user ratings (43)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Staff Reviewer
May 11th 2007


Oh, Exies... from "My Goddess" to "Hey You" to "Different Than You." I'll give them credit that they don't sound the same between albums, but I don't think they've topped their debut yet.

Staff Reviewer
May 11th 2007


I quite like 'Different Than You.' If I'm going to get something by these guys, what should I check out first?

May 12th 2007


^^^IMO get head for the door, but inertias just as good. I've met them and had pizza with them, nice guys.

May 12th 2007


Meh, I remember checking these guy myspace out a while ago after reading some hype about them over in R&M. Didn't sound very promising. Your review and the songs on here don't do much to change that view either =/

Digging: IDLES - Joy as an Act of Resistance

May 12th 2007


Inertia owned, and Head for the Door was good for the first couple songs...this sounds like it'd be worth checking out.
I can't say I liked Different From You very much tho, but I saw them live a couple weeks ago and the one new song that I remembered them playing was Dose, and I liked it.

The Sludge
May 12th 2007


Inertia was actually a decent disc, but this doesn't sound good.

May 13th 2007


Album Rating: 3.0

This album rocks out quite hard.

July 6th 2007


sucks. don't know where this band went wrong. I absolutely adored Head for the Door

October 16th 2007


Album Rating: 3.5

Can't really understand why they didn't put "God We Look Good (Going Down In Flames)" on here. That song was such a throwback to their self-titled debut's song "All The Pretty Ones" and it really would have fit on this album.

All in all, I like this album...but it leaves something to be wished for.

January 29th 2008


Album Rating: 2.0

Meh, something of a letdown after Head for the Door. They didn't build on the previous album at all, but rather just waded into another style of music.

November 20th 2011


Album Rating: 3.5

"A Modern Way… is a polished slab of ass rock in the vein of the Foo Fighters and Nickelback"

haha great line. and true. cd isnt as catchy as head for the door or inertia, but i actually also really liked their cover of "once in a lifetime".

good review, i think slightly higher of this album however but valid points .

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