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Review of The Pursuits," "Exile"

Review of The Pursuits," "Exile"

The explosion of keys and guitars resulting from a standoff between Coldplay (circa X & Y) and Radiohead, with occasional backup from more marginalized indie rockers, would create The Pursuits' Exile, the follow-up to 2009's Still Half Asleep. The mostly-Belmont-based alt-rockers have a coldness and craftiness in their melodies similar to the likes of Calvin, and went from a quintet to a sextet since the EP was made. Four are vocalists, and with the work of three guitarists and thick layers of synth and keys, the EP is intricate but not overdone and, despite wearing its heart on its sleeve lyrically, it doesn't give it all away by staying just reserved enough.

"24-7" opens pensively with an American Football-like guitar melody bubbling dreamily over softly-treading percussion. Vocalist/lyricist Joseph Storey implores, "Is it worth it?" sounding like Kele Okereke (Bloc Party), before the song spirals off in Minus the Bear fashion, reverb echoing. "Cold Anchor" follows with a heavy heart reminiscent of OK Computer and some parts of Hail to the Thief, breaking through pensive, bleary ambience with a definitive melody. But it's not all doom and gloom; "Morocco" heats things up with a buzzing, underlying guitar part that almost sounds like The White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army," and amid crisp percussion, guitars bristle and cut jaggedly with jazz influence in "Heatwave," the first time the recording shys away from its smooth spaciness.

"Pearl Diving" plunges back into the deep with quietly warbling guitars and cymbal tapping. It's clear The Pursuits know their influences, and consequently know their sound. They're not about hooks - which can cause a sameness in the songs despite the guitarists' craftsmanship - and they're not about to lighten up, opting instead for poetic introspection as heavy as the reverb. - Jessica Pace

Published: February 06, 2011 |

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