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CD Reviews: The Exies

The Exies: Inertia
April 2003
By: Jenni Mehlenbacher

album cover of The Exies' Inertia

I had impassable writer’s block when I first sat down to review this CD, until I realized how similar it was to my live concert experience. I’ve been a fan of the Exies for several years, but, until recently, had never seen them play. Various people in the know assured me that the band was great live and that the concert and new cd would be worth my wait. I never doubted anyone. Still, the anticipation was killing me. When I finally got to see this band at a local club, I was floored. Some artists warm up a few songs into their set, but the Exies were "on" from the start. They hit the stage with such an intensity that grabbed the listeners, taking them through a range of songs that displayed the band’s versatile talent; the energy level didn’t let up until it was all over. I left that night wondering what had just happened to me, and more importantly, when could I do it again??

Enter Inertia. Although this album is the Exies’ Virgin Records debut, the LA-based foursome are seasoned rock veterans with a previous release on Ultimatum Music. One old song, Lo-Fi, was re-recorded for this album. But the Exies don’t dwell on their past. Inertia opens with an explosive track, My Goddess, the album’s first single. Without getting into the definition of inertia, I’ll just say that the album definitely gets me going. A few tracks like My Goddess, No Secrets, and Calm and Collapsed are very guitar-driven rock reminiscent of the Foo Fighters. The music is infectious and energizing. Insert your own adjectives, all I know is that by the end of the first chorus, I’m singing along to every word.

There are a few softer tracks, like Irreversible, which for the most part allows a simple instrumentation to get out of the way of singer/guitarist Scott Stevens‘s melody. Stevens, bassist Freddie Herrera, drummer Dennis Wolfe, and guitarist David Walsh all took part in writing for Inertia. Creeper Kamikaze is truly haunting, building slowly to a full orchestra and searing guitar. String arrangements for Creeper and Genius were written by the album’s producer, Matt Serletic (Matchbox Twenty, Angie Aparo). Many songs seem to share a theme of personal growth -- examining things you have come to know and deciding if you truly believe in them -- and sometimes, moving on. The title track sings: “This is the time when all things old will pass / inertia comes around / to push me closer than I’ve ever been, where new things will be found / this is my chance to let go of the past, at last.” There are no printed lyrics in the cd booklet, which has sparked at least one heated debate on the band’s message board. The Exies prefer to leave their music open for interpretation - it means whatever you think it means to you.

My biggest complaint is that the album is too short. At just over 35 minutes, Inertia leaves me craving more. I guess that’s just what the Exies do to me.

The Exies have toured with 30 Seconds to Mars, SR-71, Trapt, Stage, and will continue supporting Everclear throughout May. They will join Finch and the Used for the MTV Campus Invasion rock tour.