Amidst the obvious Welsh stereotypes and the terrible bands you would have heard of already, stand Exit_International, knee deep in sheep. Without a doubt, one of the hardest driving rhythm section bands around, but then again I suppose that is what you get if you give fuzz pedals to naughty boys.
This time around on album number two, they have grown into refined gentlemen of taste and one rather rugged beard. The songs are advancing into so many territories whilst retaining that classic thunderous sound that you would struggle to point out their numerous influences, but a few that have been thrown around aside from the usual Nirvana/Mudhoney, are; QOTSA, Mars Volta and even ‘Motorhead fucking the Pixies’, with a few tinges of Primus thrown in for good measure.
Though not every song is an instant floor filler, the pop hooks laced in-between Scott’s howling vocals are a sign of a progression which many bands on the heavier side of the fence struggle with during that clichéd second album. Rather than push on the volume to make a wall of sound resembling a rubbish compactor fighting with an 8 x 10 stack, E_I have begun taking the melody back, putting it in it’s rightful place alongside that kick in the mouth you probably deserve.
That said, this isn’t a pure sing song album. ‘Fuck Yeah! Depression’ is a raucous journey into the fucked up world of Ren and Stimpy, stopping off briefly for a shotgun battle with an old car whilst slinging around a bottle of Brains till the knees don’t support the body. It’s an album to pump yourself up to before a night out as you put on your best lipstick and feather boa, heading out looking for skinheads to beat up, or dreaming of the glory years of grunge and post punk as you flail around in a moshpit of a band that wishes they were as heavy and sexy as E_I.
With the odd track that feels a bit like filler, they are more than made up for by the likes of ‘Kojak Rollneck and album titled, ‘Our Science is Golden’. Both drastically different in style, the latter as close to a ballad as they get, they deliver in a way that makes you sit up and take notice, leading to a feeling that by the third album, they will be heading into In Utero territory, mixing a slightly mellower sound in places, but honing that thunder they are so well versed in producing.
The only problem I find with this album, as with many bands I’ve loved over the years, is that it doesn’t truly do the band justice sonically. Live they are a six legged beast that comes at you full force spitting fire and assaulting your ears with screams to make a banshee cower, but on record it, doesn’t quite make you shit your pants in the same way. That said, it’s still one of the most important records that isn’t in your record collections yet.