The Exbats

E is 4 Exbats

Burger

Mar 14, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


There's something very classically pop about Arizona's The Exbats. Made up of father/daughter duo Kenny and Inez McLain, with additional bass provided album engineer Matt Rendon, The Exbats have managed to distill all that's vibrant in the history of pop music into 2- to 3-minute anthems that recall everything poppy from The Archies to its '70s punk heirs The Ramones. Of course, to analyze to this degree is simply pinheaded academia. The Exbats make a raucous noise that's as tuneful as anything you'll hear all year.

E is 4 Exbats, out on vinyl and tape from esteemed California-based indie Burger Records, compiles select tracks from the band's catalog. For purposes of this review, LP was format of choice and, somehow, the band's charming lo-fi aesthetic sounds even better on vinyl than CD. Inez's vocals pop. Kenny's guitar perfectly shambles. And Rendon's bass solidifies the forward momentum of the tracks.

Each of the songs on E is 4 Exbats is catchy enough to be stuck in your head for months. Pick a track: the über-melodic "I Got Fights," the Ramones-ian stomp of "Everybody Loves My Mom," the silly love ode about the Roman god "Hercules," the garage rock of "I'm a Witch."

The explicit "Mr. Bucky," a Kenny-written song where Inez sings of wanting to have intimate relations (think of a word that rhymes with truck and, which when rhymed with Bucky, wouldn't at all be "yucky"), is perhaps the most ear-worming of the tracks herein. Try to stop singing it in the car at a stoplight.

Lyrically, the songs, which at first blush strike as simple fun, and which certainly achieve this end, also feature sly and slight nuances that, upon repeated listening can also surprise. "Are We Dead Yet" nods to Iggy Pop's desire to be your canine, asking, "Are you a dog yet?" "2027" comments on America in the era of Trump. "Everybody Loves My Mom" cheekily announces that, "She has more drugs than me."

Yet at the same time, songs like "Maximum of Happy," written about Inez's first high school boyfriend, possesses a certain authenticity of experience that makes the innocence of the sentiment so much more poignant.

Music geek analyses aside, The Exbats have created songs that are very simply sing-a-long inducing. They've found a way to take the simple and make it timeless. The hooks are present in spades but still it rewards further listening. Classic pop. But so much more. (www.theexbats.bandcamp.com

Author rating: 8.5/10

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Average reader rating: 2/10



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