Reading the reviews for Exit Calm’s eponymous debut, it seems that the scene that celebrates itself is at it again. Phrases like “best since,” “of the decade,” and “of the century so far” are being hurled about with reckless abandon. I, for one, am not buying it. Granted I did have to listen to some of the songs on this album a few times to fully appreciate them, but that is only because I fell asleep twice trying to listen to it.
It isn’t that it’s bad. You’ve Got It All Wrong and Hearts and Minds are both exceedingly well-crafted tracks that stay with you long after the record has stopped spinning, with craftsmanship being the key word. The technical talent of these four Yorkshire lads (Nicky Smith, Rob Marshall, Simon Lindley, and Scott Pemberton, augmented here by mix-master Ulrich Schnauss) is unquestionable—it just isn’t quite enough. In moments of social-critical engagement, like the two songs mentioned above, Exit Calm is at its best. When the subject matter turns inward however, the band’s eyes drift back down to the stage and the lyrics fade into the background. This isn’t to say that the other tracks are clichéd, merely that they are lyrically undistinguished.