Dramatic rock (in a good way)
Eksi Ekso, is made up of "leftovers" from two previous bands, On Fire and The Burning Paris, and in 2008 this Bostonian Sextet presents their first offering, I am Your Bastard Wings. Having no knowledge of both of the ancestors to this band, I came with a clear head and prepared to see what they have in their stock. I must say it was a pleasant discovery.
With a rich engulfing sound, supported by, in addition to the usual rock instrumentation, a chamber section consisting of trumpet, violin, viola and sampling, Eksi Ekso forge a captivating, melancholic atmosphere. Those additional instruments give a valuable orchestral sound to the band, enhancing and adding valuable layers to their sound. The use of three different vocalists (singing either together or separately) also adds to the variety this album offers. What dominates their sound is the big, epic-like aspect which is highly reliant on the strings and trumpet mentioned above. They enrich and add a majestic and certain splendor beauty to the music, increasing the "volume" of the music.
I've heard Eksi Ekso compared to a post-rock band with vocals, and there's merit to this statement, though it is not strictly post-rock that the band delivers. Killing Texas, for instance, presents a less dense, more upbeat side of the band. Moreover, the overall mood, while not far from that of post-rock territories, is given a positive boost towards a good solid rock sound.
Eksi Ekso don't opt for the characteristic long and slow track development style of some post-rock bands. Most of the song songs are not too long, and usually get to the point quickly, in a more typical rock way; and in those nicely flowing tracks, they manage to achieve a successful and efficient effect which is also well executed. The beauty of the music and the way it's performed is enchanting and thrilling. Dramatic, ambitious and grand, it surrounds and fills the listener. This album seems to me to fit an autumn spirit: somewhat gloomy, yet charming, uplifting, and occasionally optimistic.
A fantastic surprise this summer. Recommended.