The vinyl edition of this monster rocks a heavy 18pt stock jacket with two full color, printed inner sleeves housing one of three different colored vinyl options to choose from. Meanwhile, the CD version is actually a 28 page hard cover, illustrated BOOK! The book contains the lyrics and illustrations telling the tale of the album as it unfolds song by song. One of the most ambitious packages we’ve ever been a part of, this is ending the CD era of music with a bang, my friends. HEY! Enough about the packaging, lets get biographical here:
Addition by subtraction is a clich often quoted by the unoriginal (as well as the mathematically-impaired) that nonetheless offers a fair assessment of Eksi Ekso a band that has gone from six to three full-time members and still somehow expanded its sound by refining it.
When writing began for the follow-up to 2008 s I Am Your Bastard Wings, the three current members of Eksi Ekso: Tom Korkidis (vocals, guitar, bass, keys), Alex Mihm (drums, loops, percussion), and Sean Will (keys, synths, trumpet, samples), found themselves increasingly constrained by the inertia of a large band seemingly doomed to stay within its post-rock tendencies. As the three spent more time working together, it became clear they had a very real momentum with myriad ideas that would never survive the democratic process of a six-piece group. If it sounded good, it stayed, with any concerns of conforming to some pre-existing musical identity being summarily dismissed. Eventually, the split was obvious and the other members left amicably, with one (Beth Holub, viola) remaining in a collaborative role.
The band s newest record, 2011 s Brown Shark, Red Lion, shows a band comfortable exploring areas of orchestral pop, synth-soaked dance, and hard-hitting rock in ways that can appeal to the crowd who just want a catchy vocal line as well as the kids who go to the front of the stage to see what s in a band s pedal boards. The vocals are memorable and well-arranged, the melodic instruments make hooks out of refreshingly atypical chords and melodies, the rhythm section pummels with a deft blend of creativity and back-beat. Strings and brass are not haphazard novelties that show up when the band runs out of ideas; they propel the song when need be or billow beneath the din when subtlety is best.
The record was tracked in various New England studios, mixed by the esteemed and darling Scott Solter (John Vanderslice, Spoon, Pattern is Movement), and mastered by Dave McNair of Sterling Sound in New York. The end result is a departure from contemporaries I know a guy with Pro Tools approach to recording.
So is this band just a bunch of aural high-horse pioneers and music-math wizards? Yes! Er, I mean No. While the band is never content to rehash rock traditions and does not shy away from deviant instrumentation or the occasional odd time signature, none of the exploration is ever done for the sake of being different or self-aggrandizement. It is simply done for the sake of the song. The wide range of influences emerges maturely no funk verse followed by a heavy metal chorus, or exercises in instructional video wanker-dom. This is rock written for discerning ears, played by gents who know their instruments but have no jaded illusions about what makes music fun: hooks and a good feel."