Two years ago, British outfit Exoskeletons caught the imagination with their first release, the Get Lost EP. It was a striking almost rabid slice of punk infused noise rock which excited as it whetted the appetite for the band’s emerging sound. Since then the band has been in a process of “writing, gigging, destroying and rewriting material in an effort to find something new and more challenging.” The upcoming release of debut album We Are Here To Make Things Better is undeniable evidence in their discovering and exploring that new and individual incitement which most importantly is rather irresistible.
From Kent, Exoskeletons consists of members of Punching Swans, Bear vs Manero, and Houdini; all three bands which has certainly lit our fires in their own rights. Embracing inspirations from the writings of Greg Egan and Philip K Dick, especially on themes of Artificial intelligence, We Are Here To Make Things Better was recorded over 9 months between the September of last year and this past June. Released through Skingasm Records, the album is an adventurous mix of alternative rock with the band’s punk/noise origins which develops a distinct but connecting character over its ten tracks but brings an unpredictable quality and imagination to each.
Face In The Rock starts things off, the track merging from subdued sonic disturbance with beckoning beats and soon after the throbbing lure of bass. As the guitar entangles both with its acidic melodic vines, Greg Webster’s vocals step in, his distinctive tones inevitably bringing a Houdini feel though his guitar and the rhythmic imagination of bassist Peter Bevan and drummer Tom Bonner swiftly sculpt Exoskeletons unique textures and invention. The song continues to pounce and romp on the listener’s imagination, its kinetic gait and lively energy firmly gripping attention.
Even so, it is soon outshone by the following track and new single House Of Disappearing Bricks. It is pure virulent infectiousness, its firmly rapping beats and gnarly bassline instinctive manna to these ears even before the punk soaked attack of chords and vocals add to the trespass. The track’s post punk antics swiftly hit the spot, its noise punk devilry inflaming the passions as swinging rhythms and spiky hooks wake up a lustful submission to their angular bait. It is sublime stuff, pop discordance at its best and surely alone an unstoppable lure into the world of Exoskeletons for a new flood of fans.
Kuiper swaggers in next, again beats and bass casting an enslaving web as vocals across the band infest the psyche within another guitar woven tapestry of enterprise as belligerent as it is psychotic. Kind of like a mix of Shellac and The Mai Shi, the song traps ears in a compelling maze of sound before the more even keeled stroll of In Real Life takes over. In saying that, it pleasingly too has a rhythmic skeleton which jerks around with dervish like agility around which melodies with a caustic hue blossom. Passages of even calmer energy has a great feel of UK band An Entire Legion to them but again what emerges is a track distinct to its creators.
Through the catchy clamour of Crash Symbols and the crunchy prowess of Holes pleasure only escalates; the first, maybe without the striking quirkiness of those before, a magnetic cauldron of sonic imagination and rhythmic dexterity which seals the deal even before the brilliance of the irritable bass and great dissension of the vocals enslave. Its successor is a wonderfully dirty and cantankerous proposal with an addictively contagious swing which continues to infest an evolving landscape of adventure. There is a definite Melvins like ingenuity to the track but similarly echoes of the great music scene in the Medway area of Britain which the band’s line-up has been a major part of in recent times.
Again ultimately, the track is individual to Exoskeletons, a trait all songs process as shown yet unsurprisingly by next up Cicadas which is a more subdued proposition in nature to its companions but one rich in enticing hooks and dramatic ideation. Attention is putty in its hands and a greed for more overwhelming and fully fed by successor Show. It’s almost tempestuous start quickly turns to a bold saunter with another highly flirtatious bassline and spirited beats aligned to Webster’s suggestive guitar weaving and vocal dynamics. It too is low on the aggression of previous tracks but high on imposing enterprise and a flavoursome mix of imaginative post and noise punk tenacity.
The penultimate track is Dust; an expected atmospheric indeed haunting piece of sci-fi bred AI suggestiveness. Minimalistic but very potent, it has the imagination at play before the album reveals its best track to bring things to an enthralling close. Wild Swimmers is simply immense and for personal tastes leaves everything before it, and a heady collection of songs they are too, in its wake. From a distance it flows in with bass and sonic intrigue to the fore; both essences soon uniting with the most delicious hook nurtured melody. Alongside, a nagging tide of riffs work away, always there enticing even as the track twists through its unpredictable landscape. Bevan’s bass is once more manna to ears, its grumbling exploits as eventful and persuasive as the lithe rhythmic craft of Bonner and Webster’s resourceful sonic painting. Add the ever captivating vocal strengths of the band and you have a feast for the ear and a song which suggests we, as the band, have so much more to discover ahead with the Exoskeletons imagination.
Because of the Get Lost EP and the previous exploits of its band members which we previously got hooked on, we expected to find plenty to enjoy within We Are Here To Make Things Better but not to the lustful extent we did. Quite simply the album and band back up the declaration of its title in one of the year’s major highlights.
We Are Here To Make Things Better is released November 10th on Skingasm Records.
19/10 – Maidstone – Drakes
03/11 – Ramsgate Music Hall
17/11 – Manchester – Fallows Cafe
18/11 – Leeds – Tbc
23/11 – Camden, London – Our Black Heart (album launch show)
22/12 – Chatham – Poco Loco
Pete RingMaster 25/10/2017
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