Brown Shark, Red Lion
Record Review by Adam McKibbin
I’m hardly the first to plant my flag (they made their debut in 2008, unbeknownst to me at the time), but Eksi Ekso is one of my favorite discoveries of the year thus far. My hopes (and suspicions) were raised when seeing the reference points that got dropped in describing the band – TV on the Radio and Menomena being amongst the most recurring. On the other hand, one review dropped Elbow, ISIS, Radiohead, Patrick Stump, Peter Gabriel and the Twin Peaks soundtrack. Intriguing, but… a band in search of an identity?
No. Brown Shark, Red Lion finds the Bostonian trio comfortably carving their niche. There are bands who chase fashions and chase genres like lost tourists, and then there are bands who push themselves and make interesting choices in a tireless campaign against regurgitation; it’s unfortunate that these categories sometimes get confused. Eksi Ekso lead with some of their best material – a hot opening stretch of “Kills of the Flood Tide,” “Carte de Visite” and “Rein, White Sun” – and aren’t quite able to sustain the momentum throughout Brown Shark’s 11 tracks (there are later-album gems as well, though; the ominous-sounding “14 for 3” being one of them).
As for those lofty reference points, the math is pretty simple: lead singer Tom Korkidis has a deep, gravity-imbued voice reminiscent of Tunde Adebimpe, particularly, it seems, when he gets more animated or hits a good chorus hook. Other times, it’s not really there at all. But it’s understandable. On the Menomena side, it’s likely drummer Alex Mihm who’s responsible, a looping wiz who sometimes sounds like he’s ready to blast off into a harder, post-rockier style. That’s not to say he’s an uneven fit; the percussion is actually a stand-out component on some of the album’s best tracks.
In a season where, even more than usual, it seems like we’re hearing a lot of the same names over and over again on teh internets / the blogosphere / the indie club water cooler, Eksi Ekso is a band with all the right ingredients that’s nevertheless been somewhat overlooked. Hype 'em up!
Eksi Ekso - "Carte de Visite"
More by this writer:
Duchess Leo - Golden Gray
Marques Toliver - Butterflies Are Not Free
Making Friendz - Social Life
TV on the Radio - Dear Science