Sound — 7
Exit Lights by Falling Up is not just another ordinary release, but quite a courageous decision. There are no rock-based tracks you would suppose to hear from this band. Aiming to expand in their style and show their different side, Falling Up remixed songs from two previous albums and released it as their third LP. Even though there are rock roots in every track, all of them are electronic. The CD opens with the only new track -- Islander -- it gives you a full understanding of what the album is like. The electronic flavor in the track in created with a resonant snare drum and a busy drum beat. Anxious piano adds some pressure to the gloomy atmosphere of the song. The beginning of Exit Lights (BEC Recordings) is absolutely boring with the first two tracks Islander and Exit Calypsan (Into The Ice Cave) being hardly differentiable from each other. But things brighten up to the third song -- Escalates (Aceramic) has some move and is even danceable and catchy (which is a rare thing on Exit Lights as you'll learn listening on). Moonlit (Neon Predator) is another great intense song, but there's a part in the middle suspiciously reminding Gorillaz. Fearless (250 An Dark Stars) surprises you with a teen pop duet in the middle of the song. After that you start to doubt the band have any clue about what they're doing... A lot of sons are unfocused and don't go anywhere -- you've got a constant feel that you've missed the beginning of the track or the end of it. There are some cheesy moments - like a few seconds of silence in the middle of Searchlights (Indoor Soccer) after the world you want to hear the silence? Or a girl's voice with a Japanese accent, telling us that we're listing to remixes of some really fresh guys, called Falling Up. Just proclaiming themselves as some really fresh guys is kind of a bad taste...
Lyrics — 6
Vocalist and songwriter Jessy Ribordy pays a lot more attention to words, than you would expect from an average rock band songwriter. Sometimes the music is more of an accompaniment to his poems. The band doesn't miss a chance to experiment. The poetry is gonna be a treat for you if you're into listening about isolation and paranoia -- being a member of a Christian band, Ribordy sees a huge importance in having family and loved ones around and warning us of loosing it. Being new to electronic genre, the guys called for some support. The list of guest vocalists is impressive -- Rachel Lampa (Exhibition (Epoison)), Solomon Olds, Trevor McNevan, Troma (Gotee). Ribordy at his best is in more intense trip-hop-like vocal parts, spitting out the worlds. When it comes to singing the melody, he looses his charms.
Overall Impression — 7
Exit Lights is like the same songs, but from another point of view -- like if you're looking at the picture through a lens -- it is still the same image, but in different colors. The record is so unusual to be heard from a band like Falling Up, that they should either hope the fans love anything they do (which is a bit too self-confident) or guys are looking for another audience. The album would be at least understandable if you've heard Falling Up's previous releases. There are a few tracks that really has some move and digital vibe (as vocalist Jessy Ribordy describes the album) -- like Escalates (Aceramic) and Searchlights (Indoor Soccer), other than that Exit Lights is very messy. On this album Falling Up remind me of a kid, who suddenly got too many toys and tries to play with each of them, but gets lost. Just like that the band looses themselves in the variety of sounds pretty often. Being cynical, I should say that it's called not to expand in style, but we've got no ideas for new songs.