CD Review of A Modern Way of Living with the Truth by The Exies

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A Modern Way of Living with the Truth
starno starno starno starno star Label: Eleven Seven
Released: 2007
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What the hell happened to these guys? I was one of the closet fans who dug their 2000 Ultimatum debut, which featured two funny, punchy, and pop-tasty anthems in "Baby's got a New Revelation" and "Straight Girl of the Universe." After touring with Evanescence, Motley Crue, and 30 Seconds to Mars, it appears as if the boring, cynical dirge-like anti-pop those bands can exude – let's call it "Creed-ness" – has infected the Exies, too. Their distortion drama "Ugly" was picked up as a theme song for a WWF event, which sums up the direction in which they were headed while cooking up this record.

On Truth, the catchiness of the group's previous music is completely drained, replaced with crisp-and-mopey electric distortion on cuts like the Pearl-Jam-on-barbiturates "Lay Your Money Down," and the romantic apology "Stray." To mix things up, there's "Leaving Song," a – surprise! – boring acoustic dirge. That's the approach they took in murdering the Talking Heads' "Once in a Lifetime," too. Most of the time, a radical reinterpretation of an old rock chestnut's a reason to praise a band, because no one wants to hear something too close to the original. In this case, however, the Exies positively murder what used to be a great cut.

Sure, there are a few stray signals pointing toward some pop life in the band, such as (gasp) actual major chords in "Dose" and "My Ordinary World." But don't get your hopes up: If you liked the Exies’ debut, steer clear of Truth. If you like long, drawn out minor chords trimmed with vocal harmonies that weep along with them, this record's for you. To me, that says they've got the demographic of 14-to-14 ½ -year-old girls nailed down tight. Just don't kid yourself about this record sounding like the old Exies. They're gone, at least for the moment.

~Mojo Flucke, PhD