E.P. REVIEW: The Exhibition
Carry to the End
Carry to the End is available (to pre-order) at:
RELEASED: 1st September, 2014
TRACKLISTING: Artery- 9.4/10.0 Here I Begin- 9.0 Starting Over- 9.1 Carry to the End- 9.2
STANDOUT CUT: Artery
RECORDED BY: Dave Sanderson
MASTERED BY: Tom Woodhead at Hippocratic, Leeds
GENRES: Indie, Alternative, Pop _______________________________________________________
This stunning Yorkshire band have been intriguing critics since 2010. Carry to the End is the sound of The Exhibition at their height- filled with passion and utter conviction. Mixing shades of Elbow and The Jam, the genre-splicing band are a quartet (to keep your eyes on) ________________________________________________________
IT is back to Yorkshire I head...
(at least not Leeds this time). Back in a familiar county- I seem to tabulate between Canadian and Yorkshire-based reviews- another terrific band (have come to my attention). When assessing The Exhibition, I am reminded of the band market in general- a subject I have touched on many times. The Barnsley four-piece have a very different sound; they have been compared with the likes of The Dears and Bloc Party. In the band arena, there are a lot that have a very similar sound- they tend to stick to the Arctic Monkeys mould. Some ambitious bands stretch themselves a bit; by-and-large some familiar (historic) acts are referenced (and misappropriated). It is great being inspired by a band; referencing their work and taking them on board- too many new acts lack originality and distinct identity. Having assessed a fair few groups, I can always tell the good from the bad- I have heard too many acts that lazily carbon copy older music; briefly tweak it to make it some quasi-new. The faux pas is not being eradicated and cured: too many fresh bands seem intent on marking themselves out for premature death. The best way of avoiding any easy labeling; taking (the listener's mind) somewhere new, is to experiment with genres. Band such as Royal Blood have shown how muscular and invigorating you can sound (when playing around the Hard-Rock/Indie genres)- you must pick up their debut album on Monday. These noticeable and stunning examples aside, (in order to succeed) you need chutzpah and uniqueness- present sounds that have not been heard. There is so much music out there; so many genres and styles- why would acts ignore them? Being a fan of Electro.-Swing and Electro.-Pop, I love the fusion of sounds here- that combination of classical and contemporary; vibrant and melodic; edgy and soft. Bands that play in the arenas of Indie, Contemporary and Rock are a mixed bag: a few pioneering (acts) mingle sounds and sensations; a lot tend to slovenly put together something overly-familiar and vague. The Exhibition have been lauded due to their adventurousness and fresh sound. Although a few other bands- come under their radar- the abiding flavour is of a unique and distinct act. The Barnsley-based boys have been ratcheting up intrigue and acclaim; having produced a number of E.P.s and tracks, they are on a mission- intent on becoming big future names. I would not rule out that possibility; the consistency and quality (the band keep producing) is among the highest around- with each new movement they sound more assured and focused. The public has plenty of band choices; all sorts of sounds and themes are on offer- choosing the very finest can be a tough task, indeed. In so much as Yorkshire is producing some of music's best, it is a county that is synonymous with unexpected combination and lesser-heard music. The Exhibition unite traditional and vintage sounds with something cutting-edge and insistent; the passion and urgency is all there. Before I raise a couple of points- smaller ones- let me introduced my featured act:
Pete Dand (vocals/guitar) Joel Burrows (lead guitar) Andrew Murray (bass guitar) Lee Padgett (drums)
"The Exhibition is a Barnsley based progressive-pop band formed in the spring of 2008 and consisting of members: Joel Burrows (Guitar), Pete Dand (Vocals/Guitar), Andrew Murray (Bass) and Lee Padgett (Drums). The band releases ‘Carry to the End’ on the 1st of September, its third EP and sixth release proper. Shortly after forming, The Exhibition recorded an initial demo with Alan Smyth (Arctic Monkeys, The Long Blondes) before beginning a long-standing relationship with producer Dave Sanderson that initially resulted in 2009’s self-titled 4-track EP. Featuring longtime set-opener ‘The Boy and The Tearaway’ (“Executed brilliantly, and sounds natural rather than forced, a swirling maelstrom of shoegaze guitars and truly mammoth drums, propelled by some frenetic fills” 9/10 Whisperin and Hollerin) and anthemic pop song ‘Bright New Worlds’ (“This is one of the best things I’ve heard in a while” Indie-MP3) the EP was critically well received amongst the blogging community. The Exhibition went on to receive airplay from various international radio stations – including regular play from Tom Robinson and Ian Hodgson at the BBC – and garnered support slots with Hatcham Social, The Kabeedies and Roses, Kings, Castles. In 2010 the band recorded their debut single ‘The Crown/Coma’ for Of National Importance Records. Released as a limited edition 7″ vinyl, the single was brilliantly received, with critics noticing the rate at which the band had progressed (“A quite staggering leap forward. What we are witnessing is a band beginning to fire on all cylinders. God help us all” 8/10 Tasty Fanzine | “Unashamedly progressive, a startling indicator of how far the group have come in such a short while” 8/10 This Is Fake DIY). After an almost two-year long hiatus, the band returned to playing live in 2013 with a slightly altered line-up and released the EP ‘Man Proposes, God Disposes’ (“A step up in terms both production and song writing. The world is waiting for a band as good The Exhibition.” Alternative Barnsley) along with the track ‘Memento Mori’ (“Beautiful in its gentleness” 8/10 There Goes the Fear). Carry to the End marks The Exhibition’s sixth year as a band. The four tracks were again recorded by Dave Sanderson (65 Days Of Static, Hey Sholay) at 2fly Studios in Sheffield and mastered by Tom Woodhead (Hookworms, Post-War Glamour Girls). The track ‘Finis’ from the same recording sessions is available to download for free now at http://www.the-exhibition.co.uk."
The Exhibition are a bit of an old-fashioned band- gents without a Twitter account. Their online portfolio and spread is pretty thorough and precise- it would be great to see them on Twitter soon. I can understand (why people do not) join the site- it can be limited and not as inclusive as the likes of Facebook. On Facebook, you can include photos, videos and lots of information- Twitter is a little more restricted. The good thing about it (Twitter) is the ease of use and networks- there are scores of musicians waiting to be (hooked up with). The boys have a future ahead of them, so it seems they could score a lot of new fans and fellows- let's hope they jump on the bandwagon and get their name on Twitter. Before I get down to reviewing the guys- and looking at their past work- I will raise one point: the local markets and band competition. Having assessed so many different types of acts, I want all of them to succeed- there are few (I have heard) that do not deserve wide acclaim. When the mainstream opens its doors (to the best of the newly-bred), the spaces are going to be limited and restricted- who are the ones that will ascend to the highest peaks? I have mentioned cross-pollination and gene mixing; fusing different sound together gives the music a special originality- it is deeper and more appealing to listening ears. When it all comes down to it, the sheer quality and determination (will see the bravest succeed). So many mainstay bands have a timidity and sense of fatigue; looking like they are on their last legs- the young and eager will be the ones to steal their glory. The Exhibition instill passion and pride in all their work; their prolific outpourings show they often find ripe inspiration- their bond and unity is tight and unyielding. The way they talk about music- on social media- strike you: one can instantly tell how determined and solid they are. Nothing else means as much to them; that drive and foresight should see them reap rich rewards- their reputation is spreading; their name is being heralded. It is true their infectious energy and determination has gained them some of the acclaim- it is the sheer quality of the music that hits home hardest. More fertile, direct and memorable (than most music out there), the Yorkshire band are above most of their contemporaries. Comparisons have been levied to the likes of The Dears and Bloc Party- two bands that usually do not feature much (when compared with new musicians). It would be remiss to purely compare The Exhibition with others- they take the flavours of other bands and combine them into their bubbling cauldron of multicoloured smoke. Carry to the End is the latest testament from the dynamic quartet; their past work has outstanded critics and mesmerised legions of supporters- their current offerings are among their very best.
It is hard to look at like-minded acts- when thinking about The Exhibition's music. There are a few names that I could suggest that the band levy in- the smallest drops here and there. In several reviews, the boys have been compared with The Dears. The Canadian band seem to influence the lads- you can hear touches of Missles (the 2008 album from The Dears) in the current offerings. This album showed effective drama and grandstanding themes. The band showcased their rough and disjointed side; the majestic and refined- all played together on the L.P. Apocalyptic artistry and directness lurked within the terrific tracks- the band incorporated No Cities Left and Gang of Loser's shades. Missles demanded repeated listens; it is an album that is six years old- and is still revealing new gems and sides. Exploratory and sprawling, the ambition and passion is hard to ignore- there are fewer catchy hooks here (than previous albums). Missles looked at hopelessness and finding redemption; hard themes and struggling is documented- from financial woes through to personal anxieties. Across the album, the band summon up enough uplift to stop is from becoming too mordant. Whilst the darkest (of The Dears' albums), the finest numbers glistened and resonated- it is an album that is still affecting people at the moment. he Exhibition draw in similar shady themes and avenues; they match beauty and darkness alongside one another- their blend of disjointed and focused results in some terrific music. Unlike Missles, Carry to the End has greater hooks and nuance- there is more that can unite Indie and Rock lovers. More upbeat and celebratory- than Missles- the latest E.P. shows how strong The Exhibition are. Taking small strips from The Dears has led to this galvanisation and focus. When thinking about the urgent and gripping drama- Th Exhibition summon up- I am reminded of Bloc Party. Silent Alarm and Four are the best Bloc Party albums- and the best to compare with the Yorkshire four-piece. Silent Alarm was lauded for its maturity and expansiveness. The autonomy, elasticity and sprawling beauty made it an instant classic- an album that deserved full hype. Caffeinated Dance music tangled with more restrained and longing moments- the album possessed a great mixture of sounds and moments. Thrills and inspired ideas defined the L.P.; the suburban ennui words were backed with emphatic and compelling vocals- the songs had insane amounts of catchiness and memorability. Tight, wonderfully energetic and polished, Silent Alarm marked an emphatic and impressive debut. Compared to Manic Street Preachers' album The Holy Bible, Silent Alarm resonated with critics- an album that has compelled The Exhibition. They throw in the same exciting and head-spinning riffs; the deep and multilateral music- direct and impassioned vocals. Whilst Bloc Party performed fewer softer numbers, both bands share a love of hypnotic and arms-in-the-air Indie anthems. Stone-cold standouts like Helicopter and Banquet- from Bloc Party- can be heard in some of The Exhibition's most enthralling and enraptured numbers- that same heady sway and tsunami attack. When Bloc Party unveiled Four (in 2012), it marked a leap forward. An exciting guitar attack- noted for its urgency and purpose- the band rediscovered their lease on life- they appeared deflated on previous albums. The slower numbers were impressive and notable; the consistency and quality control made the album such a treasure- one of the band's finest discs. Adding more hard-edged elements into their songs, Bloc Party forsook the need to add electronics and synths.- Four saw greater directness and a pure Rock/Indie sound. Political overtones and angular riffs mingled with precise melodies and fighting guitars. Everything sounded poised and ready; churning and chugging riffs provided some sensational snatches- genres were spliced and mixed. Some songs went from Blues-inspired crawls to Heavy Metal clatter; the experimentation and daring (the band showed) excited critics. The vitality and impressiveness of the album cannot be denied- it is a record that appeals to a multitude of listeners. The Exhibition are equally pioneering and experimental. Some of their songs see those angular riffs mutate into full-blown dramas; they cross genres and fuse different sounds- their quieter moments are more effective (than Bloc Party's). As much as anything, the Barnsley quartet possess a similar urgency and vitality- all of their songs have been perfected and honed; ensuring the listener gets the finest listening experience possible. Before I finish with British influences- a trio of them- I will mention a U.S. one: The White Stripes. When riffs and guitar codas are scratchy and Blues-inspired, I am reminded of De Stijl. The band's sophomore release, it was noted for its new directions and styles- that differed from The White Stripes' debut. Bubblegum, Cabaret, Blues and Classic-Rock sat with one another; the stylisations and diverse avenues meant the music was an unpredictable treat- the production values are incredible. Jack White managed to tie so much diversity together seamlessly; with an innate understanding of music he perfectly blended so many disparate sounds. His authoritative and versatile guitar work went from fuzzy and buzzing to languid and pained- able to rustle a riot of emotion with a few notes. That muscle-cum-artiness has found its way onto The Exhibition's current E.P.- they instill the best facets and hallmarks of De Stijl. Feisty and clever, well-phrased and exceptional- the album possessed a great live sound. White's knack for phrasing- on tracks like Hello Operator- made songs sound improvised; that freshness means the music struck hard- catching the listener by surprise. The Exhibition allow a similar sense of improvisation to come into things- on some of the harder-hitting moments, the phrasing and presentation leaves that impression. The biggest influences I can draw- when thinking of the boys' music- is Elbow and The Jam. Two albums I will compare- from Elbow- would be Leader of the Free World and The Seldom Seen Kid. The former remains an outright classic and modern-day masterpiece. Having inspired legions of other acts, it is a terrific achievement. Elbow has always been noted for their gloominess and emotional sludginess; on Leaders' they focus more on the world- rather than relationships. Cynical and sombre dispositions fuse with melancholic pianos and emotional guitar work- qualities The Exhibition bring into their work. When Guy Garvey pointed his finger at the media and the world at large, the songs became similarly emphatic and swelling- tracks build and levitate into grand and majestic anthems. Guts and glory mandated the songs; layered guitars and busy compositions got inside of the brain- Elbow hit their peak here. The Exhibition are adept at those big anthems; layering sounds and instruments together- to elicit the biggest result. Gloominess and sombre moments- are shared by both bands- and the Yorkshire quartet have taken bits of Elbow's artistry on board. When The Seldom Seen Kid came along, the band mixed strange textures and middle grounds- mopey Art-Rock and radio-friendly diamonds. The warm piercing vocals of Garvey scored unexpected left-turns and immediate accessibility- the album remains a deep and compelling wonder. Pete Dand incorporates Garvey's warm and piercing vocals; that same sense of style and emotion- you can draw the two singers together. Although Dand has greater range and depth- he can go lower and deeper; present a wider emotional spectrum- the two leads are masters of rousing the troops; getting the music sparkling and alive- getting crowds to their feet. Sharp and wry lyrics were joined by clattering arrangements- on Leaders'- that meant the listener was always surprised and excited; nothing was predictable and stayed. Lovely melodies, layers of electronics; accessible directness mingled- the album remains an assured and enjoyable treat. The quixotic and diverse mingled with life-affirming and epic. The Exhibition make sure their music does not tread too similar ground; their songs marry the same diversities and considerations- presented in their own distinct and unique way. Adept at rustling up a barnstorming anthem; bringing the mood down to seduce and captivate- the boys seem likely to rise to Elbow-esque levels of acclaim and adulation (in the future). The last act I will mention is The Jam. Perhaps natural influencers of Elbow, The Jam are rightful legends and masters. In terms of album comparisons, All Mod Cons and Sound Affects are the most pertinent kissing cousins. Whilst considered The Jam's finest duo of albums, I can hear a bit of The Exhibition. The former suffered from a fractious and delayed writing process- Weller scrapped numbers and rewrote most of the album. What remains was an unexpected and purposeful album. The Jam sounded alive and rejoiced; a renewed and re-inspired band- youthful perspectives and impassioned deliveries (made the album such a wonder). The songs were not just aimed at the current generation (All Mod Cons was released in '77) but future ones- it is an album that can be freely extrapolated by my generation. Earnest and sincere, All Mod Cons united The Jam and spurred their future classics. The Exhibition show some of The Jam's generation-spanning majesty; they write songs that speak to the youth of today- messages that can be preserved and conserved (for the young of future years). Sound Affects is seen as The Jam's finest moment- by many critics and the likes of me. Although The Exhibition do not cover similar themes and stories; the vocal sound and delivery can be compared- the influence of Weller can be found on the quartet's latest sounds. Odd sounds and echoed vocals saw the band draw influence from the likes of The Beatles and poets Blake and Shelley. Themes investigated abstract dealings of spirituality and perception- sounds range from clever and tight to Pop melodicism. The Exhibition have changed course since their early days; introduced new ideas and inspirations- developed and evolved their sound. The Pop melodicism and intelligence- The Jam displayed- can be levied to the band; that same mixture of abstract and direct; oblique and deeply personal. The Jam mixed all of their songs around passionate and gripping performances; theatrics of sound- imbued with Punk energy and a vibrant lead vocal. The Exhibition have taken The Jam's essence to heart; incorporated small drops for influence- ensured their music has its distinctions and original intent.
To get a full impression of The Exhibition, it is pertinent to see where they came from- and how they have developed. If we consider their last work- Roma/Forward in Arms- that was unleashed back in May- it gained huge critical plaudit and respect. Forward In Arms is the first track up. Funky and scuffling riffs remind me of The Libertines and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Vivid and stark beginnings grip you with the intensity and catchiness. Scenes of personal decomposition and submission are offered up- the vocal delivery marries romantic and direct. Sighed and breathy one moment, urgent and emotional the next- it throws a lot of shades and contours into the mix. Distorted and contorted strings fit in myriad movements and motions. The sound unite sexy and exciting; the chorus is rushing and insistent- it can burrow into your head forever. Glistening electronic strings blend with firm percussion and authoritative bass work- there are suggestions of Elbow, The Jam and Bloc Party. A triumphant and memorable opening, Roma is next up. Spiky and scintillating opening electronic (strums) lead to White Stripes-esque pump and Blues-Rock sounds. Snarling swaggers combine in scratchy and bare-naked elements- the track packs a lot of wallop and passion. Among twisted strings and bouncing bass, the song keeps its head firm and direct. Anthemic and highly addictive, the song is wonderfully singalong and memorable. Maybe a love song to Rome; a love song to a lover or music, the words are passionate and heart-aching- the vocal has a masculine power (but contains softer swathes). The lyrics look at beds, shadows and twists- oblique sentiments sit with vivid and personal. Having several meanings and interpretations, the track is a compelling thing. Charm and innocence combine with strength and lustfulness. Beastly and psychotropic yowls grant heavy and dangerous potential- the prominent and impressive bass holds everything together. The band is tight and focused throughout; completely in-step and in line. Man Proposes, God Disposes arrived in August (2013). Beginning and Ending starts with a rampant and spoiling intro. The city is fragmented and divided; broken and lost, our hero drifts across the divide. The quiet-loud dynamics means explosive sights change to demure and reflective ones. Suffocation comes into play; our frontman wants to escape and get away- whether referring to personal strife or musical ambitions. Mixtures of The Jam's early sounds sit with current Indie passion- laden with heady atmosphere and catchiness abound. Compositional tones change and evolve; it gets under your skin and does its work. The vocal is impassioned and earnest- never losing focus or sight. You get caught up in the plight and story; the song grabs the listener and does not let go. Fall seems like a more vitriolic version of In My Life. Our hero goes home and sees how everything has changed; the green grass is grey- the pallid faces stare back at him. Broken and tortured landscapes have replaced the beauty and homeliness. The disappointment and annoyance come out in the vocal. Lights are going out; the disaffected frontman is stunned and amazed- things have changed for the worse. Urgent, pressing and insistent vocals hide a sound of resignation and deflation. The soul has been burst and the scales fallen from the eyes. Swirling and cacophonous electric guitars spar alongside tight and angular bass contradictions- the percussion is precise and punchy. Heavy and hard moments make the track a memorable and evocative number- one that demands repeated listens. Some Subaltern is one of the band's longer tracks- containing fewer words than usual. Acoustic openings give a Folk feel to proceedings- the vocal is atmospheric but downbeat. Letting his soul sing, our hero evokes stunning scenes and lines- he is preparing for a new world war; destruction and personal loss are afoot. Happiness has faded completely; there is more comfort in murder and broken hearts. With the voice shifting from safe and soft (to overwrought and strained), it is an incredible performance. Nothing gets out of hand or too intense. The acoustic-cum-electric guitar combinations provide balance and depth; the song shows another side to the band- introducing bits of Elbow and The Jam, we hear a mixture of vintage Punk and modern Indie. A Void is a song you will not avoid. Intent and catchy are the opening notes. The stunning intro. builds and grows. The percussion tees and kicks up the guitar; alert and ready, it mutates into a fiery parable- a stronger and more forceful sound. The vocal is looking at the heart: the emptiness and space that is left there- the voids between night and day; worlds and emotions is investigated. The track changes from composed and controlled through to swelling and magisterial. A fantastic way to end the E.P., we see the guys at their most meaningful and direct. Managing to draw all of their sounds together, it is one of their most complete and layered gems- a fittingly intense and mesmeric swan-song. When The Crown/Coma was released in 2010, The Crown set tongues wagging. A scratchy White Stripes-esque opening had a brooding and determined intention. That sense of danger and unexpectedness made its voice known- our frontman seems lost and alone (on the song). Feeling blue and on a higher hell, the sighing vocal offers wordless coos and impassioned outpouring. Maybe love and life is looked at; possibly ambition and music- there is a definite imbalance and sense of inequity. The song crackles and sparkles; sensations of Psychedelia and '60s legends comes into effect- the bass features prominently here. The gravity and pull that is displayed has Punk elements; the vocal goes from a rabble and drawl- to something less drunkening and ladish. Ever-changing and unexpected, the band unveil an unpredictable and mutating number- one that perfectly forages in the brain. Coma begins with a trippy and echoing line; the strings growl and stagger. Defined and rifled percussion pairs with twanging and trippy bass- the composition is curious and enlivening. Our hero finds solace in a coma- the new world order is looked at. The sort of apocalyptic themes (early Muse would salivate over), there is bombast and swagger- the track expands and explodes towards the middle. Growing and baying for blood, it vengefully crawls and campaigns. Looking at The Exhibition's earliest work- 4-Track Demo E.P.- and we can see the initial quality. The Boy & The Tearaway is a long track that looks at deep issues. Our hero began as a newborn and innocent boy- he developed into a tearaway. The elements of heaven and hell; the way a man can choose and define his own path (comes into play)- the story is captivating and cinematic. Rampant and determined percussion adds kick and force; the guitars rise and fall- they are strong and forceful throughout. Our hero seems innocent and tender; his tearaway and criminalistic side always lingers- from start to finish you get the sense of a man conflicted. Things That Hide in the Dark begins with grumble and darkness. The song rushes and slithers; the guitars are kiss-ass and cool. Shades of The Libertines and The Jam playfully mix; Bloc Party are in there too- backed by an impassioned vocal, it is a standout track. The determined and native (Yorkshire) accent comes out; te lyrics are scenic and atmospheric- oblique touches see our hero look out at the world. Everything he has lived for has passed away; there is a never-ending charm that keeps the song gripping. Reaction is a spright and fun affair. Youthful and vibrant kicks inject passion and excitement- our hero's voice is urgent and gripping throughout. The endless and pervading press does not relent- spiraling and stuttering guitars have some excellent Libertines touches. The mature and old mixes with young and rambunctious- the blend makes the song such a layered and full-voiced thing. Bright New Worlds ends (the first E.P.). Tables will turn at some point- so we are told- and there is a need to make changes (before things get worse). Life is being taken apart and dissembled; where are the up sides and benefits? God and religion are looked at and scrutinised- life is not desirable and prosperous; why are good things not occurring? Apologies are offered- by our man- for early transgressions and youthful errors. Lonely people are looked at (and highlighted); the intelligent lyrics make events gripping and prominent- perhaps the finest moment from the band's early days. It is best to judge the guys on their current work. What you get- from Carry to the End is a new and original E.P.- it keeps the band's sound but offers new sensations and stories. More confident and tight, the tracks pack a bigger punch- the mandates are more rounded and nuanced. I love their early work, but prefer their latest offerings- they are more intent and galvanised. Displaying that parabond of emotional depth and fist-pumping anthemics, the four tracks- across the E.P.- demand serious scrutiny and attention- it is a collection that will see the boys making some serious headway.
Artery is a blood-rushing song that has been gaining some heady press- a track that is causing speculation and intrigue. The lead-off song from Carry to the End, it begins with elastic and boinging strings; the taut and tense rhythm neatly flows into a tense and spy-themed parable. The percussion and guitar unite with bass to unleash something nervy, razor-edged and scintillating. The sound is not too heavy, yet it implores with its brimming drama and twilight danger. Gripped by the developing scenery, the band introduction evolves and expands; some of the most animalistic and carnivorous guitar work (reminds me of Muse)- that same determined and mesmeric sound. The layers and different strands come together splendidly; the song shifts and develops- retaining its muscular and focused core. Keeping the listener guessing, the coda keeps snaking and slinking; shifting its tail and making you sweat. When our frontman arrives at the microphone, his voice is direct and meaningful; looking at "closing in" and arterial rush, the words are projected with consideration of the mood- the lines are carefully paced and allow the maximum amount of potency and resonance to occur. The composition keeps busy and rushing; never relinquishing its heady drive, the juxtaposition works wonderfully. Speaking of death and closing walls, our man advises "open the door"- the pressing and urgent delivery is repeated like a mantra. Backed by hypnotising and strangling notes, the band unite to pull out a huge performance. Death "comes in colours"; lantern lights and a bare hallway are included- the band employ a terrific lyrical economy. That emphatic and repeated chorus is designed to do most of the work- with a greater amount of lyrics, the song would be less gripping and startling. Incredible evocative and striking instrumentations make the track an endlessly fascinating thing. The guitars twiddle and vibrate; swagger and haunt; tiptoe and run- such a myriad of different shades and sights. Catchy riffs mix with guiding and melodic bass; the percussion work is sturdy and powerful; pummeling and intense. Combine all of this together and you get a terrific opening salvo- one that sets up the E.P. wonderfully. That gravitational pull and grip is hard to get over; the deathly and stirring scenery is evocatively stunning and compelling. Kudos goes to the entire band who unite in a tight and scintillating firecracker. Each player adds a huge amount of measure, drama and weight to the composition- able to paint words and images with snatches of sounds and notation. Able to blend addictive and danceable riffs with crackling electricity; avalanche drums; pugnacious bass- it is a wonderfully ripe and ready battle statement. Our hero's vocal never drops below wonderful: his tones and emotions are kept focused; never succumbing to histrionics, it is an assured and authoritative performance. Here I Begin starts more tenderly and eerily. The rush and urgency have been replaced by something more haunted and atmospheric. Spectral and ghostly electronics welcome in our frontman. Early impressions such as "here I have seen" and "here I begin" gets the mind working- followed on with words of sinning; one speculates what is being referred to. Keeping focus distant and slow-building, there is an obliqueness to the initial words- the listener is left curious and hooked. The vocal has plenty of emotion and reverence to it; the passion is there but it seems like our frontman has regret and anguish inside- the moody and spellbound composition helps to increase the intrigue. Repeating words with the same mantra-like regard, it gives them meaning and fresh urgency- it appears our man is gripped and grabbed by the meanings of his lyrics; in the trance of heady emotion. Just as you investigate and comply with the words; try to get to their heart and soul- the composition rises and gallops. With our hero offering wordless coos, the bracing and funky riffs unfold; the music mixes emphatic drama with slinked and cool-as-hell riffage- mixings of Soul-cum-Funk-via-Blues is tempted together. Displaying their talent for dance-worthy upbeat, the band seamlessly mingle highs and lows; emotional and redemptive- into a palette of multifarious strands. Travelling past the underpass, sea of glass and fractured sights, our hero is beginning again- seemingly rebuilding himself and making moves. The lyrics can be interpreted two ways: on the one hand you feel that something more submissive is being presented. When in the midst of some harsh realities and tortured scenes, the words "here I begin" are uttered- making me feel like the frontman feels at home here; deserving of similar fate. On the other hand, there is redemption and rebirth; beginning again could mean starting afresh- shedding his old skin and embracing something more positive and elliptical. Juddering and shivering strings pair with punchy and supportive percussion. The bass leads and holds everything firm; the performance (from the band) is unequivocally tight and intense. Showing no loose edges and seams, the boys never let go. Our hero is in the sea of fire and destruction; comets tumble and hell-fire brims- it is here he begins. That curiosity and double-meaning mystique comes back to mind; I try to get my mind to focus and clarify things. Swelling and eerie notes come back through; that progressive nature defines the song- lesser bands would hopelessly throw together a series of notes with scant consideration for mood. The Exhibition inject spiked and cosmic guitar strikes with arpeggios and sexy swaggers- quite a blend of ingredients! With a gripping and urgent vocal, you are drawn into the song- the directness and emotion pours forth. Gracing the song with a sense of panache, leadership and heroics, our frontman is on top form- stirring up a myriad of details and layers. Towards the closing moments, a few more notes are thrown in- hard-hitting and stirring they are. Not content to leave things unanswered, the final flings punctuate and hit. I am thinking something mixed was being assessed: our hero seems to want redemption and development; his heart and soul is being tied down and weighted. Such a curious and fascinating proposition, Here I Begin completes an impressive 1-2. Staring Over opens with high-pitched and sunny strings. A flowing and fast arpeggio, there seems to be positive light and hope here- the initial seconds are filled with passion and uplifting potential. Instilled with a mixture of Pop and Indie sensibilities, the sound differs from the opening salvos- something more buoyant and spright is being unfurled. Crunching and precise percussion work acts like a heartbeat; it strikes and pumps with necessity and consistency. Our hero's vocal is more breathy and romantic here- letting his softer and sensitive side to shine, it is a calmed and honest beginning. Sounding like a live performance, the track impresses with its incredible sound and tangible production- it is as though you are hearing the band in the flesh. Early words are directed towards an unnamed figure. With urgency- and a slight sigh- our frontman tells (the hero to go where) "your heart tells you to go." Whether a friend or sweetheart is being spoken to (I am not sure), yet few can ignore the conviction and urgency of the words- they remind me of Morrissey and his unique delivery. Driven by some incredibly detailed musical moments, the song wins its election with a multifaceted assault. In addition to some incredibly emotive and stunning vocals, the lyrics intrigue and tempt. Maybe a relationship is being looked at; when the words "starting over again" come out, you feel like something has unfolded- maybe a bond is broken and beyond repair. The sigh and weight of the vocals makes me think it was not a happy occurrence- our hero warns their subject to go before they "lose control." Whether a love has been eradicated or a friend has suffered an unpleasant event, the necessity of starting over is obvious. Spiraling and repeated words add to the urgency and insistency; the composition never encroaches or overpowers- the combinations are incredible. Like Artery, economy and concision come to the fore- making a big impact with as few words as possible. Anthemic and addictive, the chorus is one that demands singalong tribes and enraptured festival crowds. Seemingly spellbound by the words at hand, our hero's voice is at its peak here- both strong and emphatic; introspective and emotional. Towards the close, the composition becomes more dizzying and defined- the percussion crackles; the bass trips and tumbles; the guitar intoxicates. As the song reaches its end, you are left a bit breathless by the rush and clammer of the song- it is a sure-fire festival favourite-in-waiting. The title track arrives last up. Taking the E.P. to its conclusion, the crackling and intriguing drum beats are an unexpected treat. Each track has led with a different sound; separate and distinct genres and flavour- here something more bare and seductive plays. Mingling embers of Soul and Pop, the delicate vocal delivery comes in quick- the tenderness of the performances grips from the start. Our man is in an "ocean of tears"; gripped by his darkest fears, he needs an island- to harbour his worst thoughts. Drawing in some of the moodiness and anxieties of Elbow- combined with a comparable vocal luster- the song is instant. Whereas Elbow's softer moments are not their very best, here there seems more authority and naturalness- the quartet are equally at home among emotive and self-reflective themes. Stark and vivid, you imagine our hero adrift at sea; looking for safe haven and security- his mind is lost and empty. Wanting to throw off the shackles, there is that need to get away and escape- the evocative and atmospheric composition punctuates and highlights the lyrics. Not liable to be won over easily, it seems the frontman's mind is pretty irreversible- that defeated and deflated soul needs pumping up. Drawing in essences of Leaders of the Free World Elbow; some shades of Joy Division, the track certainly has some meaty credentials- it is not a gloom-laden and black velvet number. Earnestness and honest reflections are glistened with some lighter and positive strings- there is rawness and vibrancy to be found. Thoughts collide; our hero loses control- the drama increases and the song becomes harder and more enlivened. Growling and blood-lust strings sit with chugging and locomotive notes; the bass guides and glides- a beautiful parable that perfectly punctuates the verses. Ensuring the E.P. ends with indelible impressions, the song certainly is hard to forget. Juxtaposing serene and emotive vocals with rousing and fighting compositional elements, the track is another live wonder- something that will grip and unify crowds across the U.K. Whilst largely saddened and hopeless, the song does not depress and divide- it is a solid and compelling. The chorus is repeated- as is traditional for the band- to reinforce the messages. There is hopefulness and potential- our man will carry on and not let go; life cannot bury him. The composition is one of the finest on the set; the band combine magnificently. The guitars are particularly memorable; displaying so much diversity and intent, so many different sounds and sights come into view. With the dying moments dedicated to evocative and spellbinding musical grip, the band leave the listener in no uncertain mind- they want to leave things with a bang. Having sympathised with our hero, he steps away from the mic.; the band summon the sound of the ocean waves and storms brewing- the gripping drama does not let go.
Before I mention the band members individually, it is worth summing the E.P. up. Carry to the End is a blistering four-track collection that is excellent from start to finish. There are strong shades of Elbow and The Jam, yet the band never stick too closely to their guns- instead redefine their emphatic and anthemic cores. Songs go from upbeat and down-turned to scintillating and reflective- the guys switch styles and genres without warning. Their songs are compelling and unpredictable; not content to do the bare minimum, the boys keep every moment imaginative and shifting- creating their own unique sound and style. Each track is tight and focused; nothing outstays its welcome or needlessly lingers- there is a great eye for concision and economy. The incredible songwriting puts the choruses up top- the insatiable codas are some of the most distinct and memorable I have heard. Lyrics do not always tread on ground of sorrow and depression; there is enough uplift and positivity to balance emotions out- few bands take the trouble to consider this. Production values are incredible throughout. Polished and gleaming, the E.P. has an assured and professional feel- yet the songs sound like they are live recordings. All of this leads to a terrific record that will unite Indie and Rock fans; pull in some new supporters- please existing fans. Showing a step forward and development, the boys have never sounded more confident and purposeful- this bodes well for their future. First kudos goes to Joel Burrows whose guitar work adds so much life and passion. Together with Dand, he manages to present so much story and evocativeness. Arpeggios range from rampantly intent to composed and melodic. Riffs go from Blues-soaked beauties to juggernaut assaults; plenty of rhythm and light is presented. Most bands do not show a similar range and sense of diversity; Burrows marks himself as one of the most fertile and ambitious guitarists around. Injecting so much urgency and weight to each song, he is an essential component. Andrew Murray (not the Scottish one) impressed me with his bass work. A lot of bands bury the bass down; relegate it to territory regard- make sure it solely drives songs forward. Murray adds melodicism, rhythm, power and personality- using his bass as an emotional weapon. When songs are finessed and demure, the bass is gentle but instructive; passionate and supportive. Heavier and anthemic moments are backed by stunningly evocative notes; those which not only create their own gravity- they steal the spotlight. Guiding his men forward, Murray makes sure he is one of the most distinct elements of the E.P. Lee Padgett is an incredibly fruitful and talented drummer. Powerful and primal, controlled and variegated, the performances (from Padgett) are consistently impressive and wonderful. Making sure he adds plenty of potency and gravitas to the music, the percussionist marks himself out as a serious talent- one with a big future. Pete Dand is the lead who manages to stand out as a great leader and central voice. His guitar work is consistently brilliant and evocative. Pairing with his axe-wielding brother, the duo splendidly unite and conspire- Dand shows a natural intuition and flair (for guitar). It is the vocals that stand out the most. Instilled with passion, potency and urgency, the performances are gripping and intense. Our hero is able to shift from a passionate and softer low to a rampant and euphoric high- the powerful moments are incredible. Although there are tones of Guy Garvey, Dand has his own individual sound and feel- a vocalist that makes every song come to life. Convincing and endlessly authoritative, the vocal performances resonate and linger in the mind- compel you to re-investigate tracks and moments. The entire band play tightly and with intuitive understanding; they are superbly bonded and assured- each player does a magnificent job.
I have spent a while looking back at The Exhibition- they are a band as evocative as their name. Their music has that eye-catching and attention-drawing quality- you just stand with others carefully studying the striking and gorgeous shades. There have been developments over the last few years; the boys have become more confident and assured- their music has retained its identity but become bigger and bolder. The band is not merely about power and electricity; when they allow their tones to calm and quell, they can be hugely effective- it seems they are possible of anything. Even as far back as 2010, critics noted how impressive the boys sounded- they were firing off all cylinders from the get-go. There are tonnes and depressive waves of 'guitar bands' playing out there- if they are to appeal to the general public, they need to offer something different. The Exhibition span genres and have serious intentions; their talent is irrefutable and crystallised- they plan on being around for years to come. With each new release comes new progressions and developments- the quartet are not content to trot out the same thing E.P. after E.P. The music runs from gorgeous tender to spine-achingly rushing; the lyrics introverted and dark- definitely instilled with heart and soul. It is the mixing of downbeat and uplifting (that makes the band so special). The Barnsley boys are restless and adventurous- keen to present as much deep emotion and engaging and hypnotic swagger. Commentators have noted how shape-shifting and unpredictable the boys are. One minute they are anthemic and fist-pumping- likely to inflame the mosh pit. The next, they take the lights down and draw you into their mind. All of this results in music of the highest calibre; that which implores you to listen again and pick songs apart- their new E.P. is a nuanced treasure that must be heard over and over. A tight four-track release means you are left wanting more- the band tease and entice the senses. Given their work ethic and rate, I would not be shocked if they released new material next year- we could certainly hear more from them. That gets me thinking about the band's full potential- just where they could be headed. The silky and deep baritone vocals; layered guitars and crackling percussion demand greater consideration- maybe festival organisers should be looking at the boys of The Exhibition. When listening to Carry to the End, I was struck by the strength of the songs- they have a great live feel in addition to professionalism. Each number has a nakedness and open sound; you imagine yourself sitting with the guys- listening to them up close and personal. The rushing and pulsating moments implore you to kick your feet and rouse your body- the kind of thing the festival crowds would eat up. A lot of festival bands tend to be point-and-squirt noise-makers- the sophisticated and detailed sound (of The Exhibition) is an anomalous distinction. With new album releases from the likes of Royal Blood and Dry the River (coming on Monday), the diversity and quality of mainstream bands is still impressive- I feel The Exhibition incorporate the best of both those bands. Possessed of Royal Blood's catchy and magic heaviness- the Brighton duo borrow from the likes of Led Zeppelin and The White Stripes- as The Guardian put it, that kind of debt can be written-off if the music is enjoyable. Dry the River are intelligent masters of swooning and orchestral beauty; tremulous vocals and anthemic grace. These two bands have huge reputations- it makes me wonder whether the Barnsley boys can rise to their heights? On the evidence of their E.P., they look like serious contenders. Pummel, weight and smash spars with tenderness, soulfulness and spine-tingle- just the qualities the modern consumer demands. With the proliferation of generic Indie bands failing to die down, we should be embracing the likes of The Exhibition- a group that offer something new and exciting. I shall leave you all with a small point: the music of northern England. Still ruling the roost and leading the way, it is profound how many tremendous musicians are coming through (from here)- every week a new gem is uncovered. With the Barnsley lads stamping out their finest work, the next few years will be very busy and prosperous- ensure you do not miss out on their music. Take a listen to Carry to the End (and see what all the fuss is about). There is a world waiting for them; thousands of new fans to seduce- a multitude of possible avenues. I know many bands and people who would unquestionable support The Exhibition and their desires...
LET'S hope they get onto Twitter soon.
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