Album Review :
Exit the Ordinary - Exit the Ordinary

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Artist: Exit the Ordinary
Album: Exit the Ordinary
Label: Clear Glass Recordings
Release Date: February 10, 2009
Review by: Michael Mayer III

Tracklisting:

  1. Fly Away
  2. Letting Go
  3. Need to Know
  4. Conditional
  5. When I Look at You
  6. The Place You Are
  7. In Paradise
  8. Feel You Slip Away
  9. This Life
  10. Reflections
  11. Here I Am
  12. Grey Lines
  13. Here in These Arms
  14. Life’s Maze

Sometimes I can’t help but get frustrated with a band when they create some of the most catchy singles and then can’t quite piece together an album that follows suit. It’s as if they know how to create those addictive pop numbers that stick in your head and they simply choose not to for a full album. Instead they have a mixed bag of gems and Fool’s Gold. After giving Exit the Ordinary’s self-titled debut some time to soak in, that’s exactly how I feel.

I always get a little worried when I see an album’s tracklist get close to reaching 15 songs, but I give a band the benefit of the doubt. Seeing most of the tracks hover around the three minute mark reassured me a bit and it’s a good thing they didn’t let some of those songs drag on any longer. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not as if the songs are horrible. It’s just that a lot seem to kind of wander aimlessly with no real trait to stand out. In fact, most of the songs after the brilliantly poignant ‘When I Look at You’ feel this way.

The first five tracks are well-crafted pop/rock songs that will stick in your head immediately. Whether it’s the addictive beat of the synth heavy ‘Letting Go’, or the catchy riff that drives ‘Conditional’ or the vocal hooks in all of the songs you can’t help but feeling like dancing and rocking out. It helps that Tim West’s vocals are very strong, somewhat reminiscent of Dan’s from Jars of Clay. There are also some gems spread throughout the album like ‘In Paradise’ and ‘This Life’, but the rest leave much to be desired. In a lot of ways this CD reminds me of Seabird’s debut last year. Catchy songs abound, both fast and slow, but as a whole they could’ve been so much more if they were a bit more focused and, in this case, trimmed down.

Seeing as this is their debut album and they are probably still finding out what their sound is and who they are, I can look past the negative points a bit. I just think they need to channel what makes their best songs catchy and try to create (not re-create) that magic every time. Making me hum a tune all day at work or sing along loudly in my car is what these guys do best and if they can craft an album with less tracks that bring that all out of me I would be ecstatic.

Overall: Exit the Ordinary have a solid launching point for their career with sure-fire radio hits. I have a feeling that sophomore album is going to be a make or break type of thing for them. But that’s the future and for right now I say Exit the Ordinary is worth picking up if you have some extra cash for the 7 or so songs that are amazing.

Gems of this album are: ‘Letting Go’, ‘Conditional’, ‘When I Look at You’

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