Daily Vault review... by Daily Vault Music-Melanie Love When I popped in this disc, the full-length debut from Columbus, Ohio indie-rockers Exceptional Edward, I thought I had put in Death Cab For Cutie’s Plans or Transatlanticism (a.k.a. flawless Death...
Indelible Edward... by SonicJive Music-Mike Canter The term Brit-Pop is one of those slightly nondescript terms coined by some laconic British music journalist in an attempt to define a key moment during a transitional period of U.K. based rock and...
Daily Vault review... by Daily Vault Music-Melanie Love When I popped in this disc, the full-length debut from Columbus, Ohio indie-rockers Exceptional Edward, I thought I had put in Death Cab For Cutie’s Plans or Transatlanticism (a.k.a. flawless Death Cab, pre-this year’s spotty Narrow Stairs). It’s uncanny, really, how much vocalist Jason Turner sounds like Ben Gibbard; his voice, like Gibbard’s, is high, sweet, soaring, though admittedly Turner sometimes sounds a little less in control than his predecessor. The instrumentation, too, is all irresistible hooks and sparkling guitars, lovely melodies that lodge in your mind à la a more intimate, fresh spin on U2 or Coldplay. There’s still an intriguing roughness to this batch of eleven tracks, be it in the fuzzy guitars or Turner’s sometimes hesitant croon, which sets the still relatively new group apart from the big-label slickness that’s recently hit my beloved Death Cab.
If it’s the Death Cab card that pulled me in, it’s the lyrics that kept me there. At once sharply wrought and sometimes surreal, for the most part the songs here have the depth and range of a band with twice Exceptional Edward’s longevity (the group released a self-produced EP in 2006 before this disc).
Opener “Change My Mind” is simple yet evocative, launching out with an
Arcade Fire-esque organ before laying on a shimmering guitar riff and introducing an out-of-sorts Turner singing about “a city filled with light / Though the brightness hurt my eyes / I was still okay.” Swerving through an encounter with a man taller than the trees, Turner finally walks up into the sun -- “And I was not the only one who was headed home,” he says as the low-key guitars continue percolating in the background. It’s not as hooky as later single “Good People,” but it sets up the slow-burn part of Exceptional Edward’s sound.
Next up “Places And Faces” feels too vague after the imagery of the opener, and the track doesn’t really go anywhere despite a nice, nimble guitar interlude from Dan Gillis. Still, it’s a pretty unsatisfying lead-in to one of Lost At Sea’s standouts, “The Sea Captain.” Starting out with a guitar line that’s simultaneously jittery and almost hypnotic, this track is a little ominous, strangely catchy, and altogether excellent. Turner’s deeper, more confident vocals and the seamless transition from the brooding intro that tells the story of a lonely, aimless sea captain following the stars to a driving, powerful anthem. “I have to keep this ship afloat,” Turner proclaims against a backdrop of chugging drums and blossoming melodies, and it’s stunning and resilient -- check this out, if nothing else.
Single “Never Come Down” is a more toned-down, thoughtful affair, just light guitars and delicate accompanying piano on this no-frills, crisply-told tale of glamorous circus life with the achingly bare refrain, “But I’ll never come down.” It’s tough to say it’s representative of the Exceptional Edward sound, since “Good People” suddenly has vintage Oasis written all over it, with big, ringing guitars and Brian Gillis pounding away on the drums (although I’m pretty sure Oasis never penned this sensitive an anthem about lepers and searching desperately for a savior.)
From West Coast disillusion that swiftly morphs into a gorgeous, honest ballad about a not-right love (“All we do is drink our dreams…I see each day fading into another / Sorry I can’t give you more”) on “About A Boy” to the sunny rhythms and hopeful sentiment of “Goodbye” to the double-punch of full, soaring vocals and guitars on “A Night Like This” and “Home,” it’s tough to find a track on Lost At Sea that isn’t, well, exceptional. I’m only a few listens in to this disc and I’m already blown away. This is what Death Cab’s last album should have sounded like, but since they missed the boat it seems time to hand the wheel over to Exceptional Edward, who have managed to find their way beautifully in this Sea.
Indelible Edward... by SonicJive Music-Mike Canter The term Brit-Pop is one of those slightly nondescript terms coined by some laconic British music journalist in an attempt to define a key moment during a transitional period of U.K. based rock and pop.
It happens all the time, really. Think grunge, punk, electronica and trip-hop - all offshoots of previously defined genres. The terms are endless and coined as a result of critics and fans scrambling to sub-define and culture the music they love. Nonetheless, Brit-Pop, which emerged from the Manchester pop music explosion of the mid-eighties, is defined as pop music with a decidedly British slant to it. That's where Exceptional Edward fits in.
Influenced by such contemporaries as Oasis, The Verve and Radiohead, with perhaps a little Death Cab For Cutie mixed in, Exceptional Edward has hit its collective stride with the release of "Lost At Sea". The song that first caught my attention is "Home", a judicious intersection of infectious, searing guitars and sentimental vocals that leads to a stunningly breathtaking crescendo - I could only imagine how amazing it would be to hear this song performed live. That being said, the entire CD is brilliantly memorable, featuring a number of intelligent, sweeping epics and catchy singles. Indeed, Exceptional Edward covers the entire Brit-Pop spectrum: anthemic ("Good People"); enigmatic ("Never Come Down"); intoxicating ("Home"); atmospheric ("Buried By Gray") and hypnotic ("The Sea Captain").
Lost At Sea" makes an indelible imprint on the Brit-Pop genre that is decidedly American, and cements their place in a resurgence of that movement. In fact, the song "Good People" stands shoulder-to-shoulder with any of the previous efforts that influenced Exceptional Edward's sound. The whole disc has a seminal, uber-cool feel to it that is reminiscent of the richly-textured, ethereal debut release by The Verve, "A Storm In Heaven", which coincidentally tops my list as the Best Of Brit Sound.
I dare you to try and listen to this disc just once (you won't be able to). Yes, it's that hypnotically entrancing. In fact, I may break out The La's, Radiohead, Oasis, The Verve, K.L.F. and Exceptional Edward's "Lost At Sea" and have my very own Brit Sound Saturday Night.
Indie Music review... by Indie Music Stop-C.W. Ross I couldn't find any where in the band's press material where their name came from, but they sure got the exceptional part right. This band plays a brand of Indie rock that I would definitely describe as, 'exceptional.'
Getting their start thanks to a chance meeting at a local music store former neighbors, Jason Turner (rhythm guitar, lead vocals) and Brian Gillis (drums), then adding Garth Heasley (bass, vocals), and Dan Gillis (lead guitar) to round out the band's lineup.
Exceptional Edward has been playing live shows since 2005, and released their first EP, The Exceptional in 2006. Now the band is back with their debut full-length release, Lost at Sea.
Lost at Sea is on Tad Thunder's Ohio based Champions of the Arts Indie record label.
Exceptional Edward's sound has drawn comparisons to groups like, Coldplay, Counting Crows, Band of Horses, Oasis, and Death Cab For Cutie.
The band waste no time getting the fun started on this release with track-1, "Change My Mind," a song that kicks off with a big burst of organ followed by guitars.
The two singles from the release are "Never Come Down, and "Good People." The song, "Never Come Down," is a piano and guitar filled ballad that talks about the life of a circus runaway, but I got the feeling that it was also a metaphor for the life of a musician and always being on the road.
The second single, "Good People," also happens to be my pick for favorite track on the CD. The song is one of the most rocking tracks found on the CD and talks about broken people and also has a bit of a faith element found in its lyrics.
Two other songs that I want to mention are, "A Night Like This," and "At the Steak 'n Shake." Both of these songs have vocals that are soaked with emotions that really drive home the lyrics found in them. The songs deal with life choices and loneliness. I also really liked the way that both of the songs were arranged, starting out soft and building to a thunderous crescendo ending.
I can't believe that I haven't heard of this band and their music before now. Get Lost at Sea and spread the word about this great band to all of your friends.