Excepter – Alternation (CD)

The tracks on “Alternation” fittingly alternate in style and length, with some tracks being over six and seven minutes while some struggle to get to the two minute mark. At every point during “Alternation”, there is a very different sound that Excepter is trying to cultivate. There are hints of sixties pop, alternative, surf, and about fifty other styles that all blend together to create a sound that is specifically Excepter. During tracks like “The Ladder”, a mixture of Johnny Cash and Chris Isaak like vocals blend with a very tribal, Native American set of drums to keep up the innovation. The disc is well over an hour but this is not long at all.

Individuals have to recognize that what Excepter does with “Alternation” is create an hour long program that pushes on different influences and styles. There may be track names, but one should listen to the disc more as one cohesive entity than anything else. While some tracks, such as the live version of “If I Were You” seem to get their energy from a very approachable sound, other tracks push listeners out of their comfort zone and into realms previously unknown. The band is not as far out of comfort zones as acts like Agalloch, but the boldness of compositions during tracks like “Whirl Winds” push at the limits of what individuals will find acceptable. The electronic screeching that construe the winds during this track may actually create an aptly-named track, but they also reside in frequencies and contain sounds that some individuals might find grating.

Excepter comes out with an album that can hit pop stardom at some points (largely without the use of what individuals would deem “vocals”) , but decides ultimately to be an exercise in the most experimental and bleeding-edge compositions that the band can come up with. This may just be Excepter’s debut album, but the confidence that is present during the average track on the disc shows a band that is mature beyond their years. For example, Excepter can make a very atmospheric noise like hitting different pipes (or creating the illusion of hitting pipes) into their next big hit; “(The Pipes)” uis the perfect example of this ability. The band knows when they are about ready to lose listeners, so a follow-up track like “Knock Knock” is much more in the vein of pop music than “(The Pipes)” could ever be.

Top Tracks: (The Pipes), The Ladder

Rating: 6.2/10

Excepter – Alternation / 2006 5RC / 11 Tracks / http://www.excepter.com / http://www.5rc.com / Reviewed 18 August 2006


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