Stories And Fictions


Independent release, 2013

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


Seattle's Exohxo (pronounced x-o-x-o) is a result of indie rock and punk kids who may have grown up and taken on 'adult' responsibilities but didn't lose their interest in playing music. While their teens and twenties were spent crisscrossing the country in vans playing in various obscure bands, these days they work stable jobs and write music while juggling family life and preparing for retirement. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Not surprisingly, this is a very mature effort while still retaining a strong modern day indie rock feel. Sure, they keep their former selves in mind, often alluding to the more charged, gritty energy of their formative years, but ultimately this is a highly chamber and orchestral pop focused listen where careful listeners will notice punk, country, and driving rock embedded within.

Oddly enough, the instrumental "Crushed Ice" starts things with heavy keys before strings come in and the volume is turned way up. This opener resembles a TV theme song to an emergency room focused drama and illustrates a more serious side of the band. "AnnaLea" follows and is an entirely different affair, with plenty of voices present and an upbeat, bright indie rock template punctuated by a minor classical feeling. In the middle "Sunshine All Around" lives up to its name, taking a bright, chipper Brian Wilson nod with strong songwriting, though the opposite is later presented with the dramatic "These Are The Days," where calm keys build into violins that tug on the heartstrings.

Though there are just seven songs here, each one carries enough weight that the sum of its parts is nothing short of exceptional. From the quirky “Storytellers” to the lush, gorgeous “Untitled Song About Cats,” Exohxo is diverse and skilled enough to draw comparisons to Arcade Fire, The Beatles, and The Decemberists. Anyone willing to listen would have to agree they are one of the most impressive under the radar outfits from the Pacific Northwest.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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