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CD Reviews:  The Exies: Inertia

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When Rolling Stone magazine publishes their January piece “The Next Wave” (10 bands to watch out for in the coming year), I can usually count on a couple of fresh ideas for new music purchases. After all, The Vines and John Mayer (to name just two) were both featured in this article in past years. Having not previously heard anything at all about The Exies, I decided to take a plunge. Pay dirt!

Scott Stevens, long time session musician and studio engineer, has pirated his new band’s moniker from John Lennon’s nickname for existentialists. The Exies pack an instantly catchy yet refreshing modern-rock punch with what is officially their second album, Inertia. Most immediately comparable to Stone Temple Pilots of old or the previously mentioned Vines (nothing particularly unique, I realize!), these guys have seemingly mastered the art of all killer and no filler, with a dozen three-minute cuts that boast years of experience. “My Goddess” is the first single and video, and it sets the album’s torrid pace and boiling energy from the first note. These newcomers not only know how to crank it up and sprint through a guitar rock composition, but they illustrate a keen sense of melody (“Can’t Relate”) and even balladry (“Inertia”). On the title track, in fact, you might think a new Collective Soul single got thrown in by mistake.

The Exies aren’t breaking any new ground, not by any stretch of the imagination. It’s clear to me that they were huge fans of the 1990s modern-rock radio scene (Smashing Pumpkins, Matthew Sweet, Seven Mary Three, et al). But instead of being predictable copycats, they build on their influences as opposed to simply rehashing them. The result is a lean and mean bundle of highly inspired and very infectious rock songs. Nobody knows which side of the engineering board the multi-talented Scott Stevens will favor from here, but Inertia stands as evidence that he could successfully do either.

~Red Rocker

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