A newly formed California band The Extrangers that hail from Riverside County in California has brought to the masses an infectious, indie rock/pop groove on their very first EP entitled Moving On. In a mere five months using ProTools, The Extrangers pulled off a polished collection of clean, vocal harmonies and crisp, melodic guitar licks that just may stick in your head for days on end.
As one who likes to listen to the words to a song and actually understand them, and who was delighted to hear creatively executed guitar solos, (not just the kind that follow a song’s basic melody), these handful of songs quickly grew on me after a listen or two, or six. However, during that first listen is was hard not to let my mind wander to “band comparison land” knowing that just about everything in music these days has already been done ten times over.
That being said, if the reader and the band themselves would like to know, for me, their sound has a little bit of everything. Sure, more recent bands like The Strokes, Vampire Weekend or Franz Ferdinand can be heard in Moving On, but coming from the “old school” my benchmark for this type of music is The Cure and The Smiths. In my opinion, “I’ll Still Remember You” and “I Just Gotta Do It” nicely taps into the vein of cynicism, heartbreak, regret and angst a la Morrissey or Robert Smith minus the “Goth-mope-rock-whoa-is-me” cry fest.
Perhaps my favorite song on Moving On is “What Are We?” This gem features a beautifully intricate, driving guitar solo and a mid-section that I can’t quite put my finger on – a familiar sound I’ve heard someplace before. The lyrics could be interpreted in any way – is it a break-up song or a song about losing one’s religion? It has a foreboding darkness that’s attractive and mysterious.
the last song
I wasn’t real keen on “Brave The Storm” which is six-minutes long, well outside the standard duration for a typical pop song. At first I thought, why – what’s the reason? But after another listen or two the song grew on me more. In the end, I think this song drives, moves and shakes hard enough to not even bother noticing how long it is.
As a fellow musician who has used ProTools, I would caution the band not to sound like your actually using ProTools. Sometimes but not always, a digital-anything device or software of this kind can make a band sound like they’re boxed in a tin can with no warm tones, no bass, no fullness, no depth. Don’t get me wrong, Moving On is a great first effort but the sound mixing could use a little tweaking – try toning down the treble.
Most of the band’s songs that are written by guitarists Jay Nixon and Adrian Ceja do come from a place of unrequited love, heartache and confusion. But I sense that this is in their best interest. The Extrangers have plugged into the universal themes of love and hate and songs of this kind have stood the test of time. They weather the ups and downs of the music world better than trendier songs that stay on top for a while and then fade fast from our memories. Judging from a reasonably priced EP, a Facebook and You Tube page, (check out the rockin’ live show video of “Brave The Storm” – complete with stage fog), The Extrangers have taken all the necessary steps to endure well into the future. I look forward to their full-length album
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