Exlovers - You Forget So Easily

Chris Tapley 24/08/2009

Rating: 3/5

Following on from the recent singles Photobooth and Just A Silhouette (also featured here), Exlovers return with a new five track EP. A pleasant mixture of twee pop and refined indie; don't let the T word put you off though. There's certainly a time and a place for twee, and it's often an unfairly maligned style. This is in fact pretty good as far as twee goes, it trades boy-girl harmonies back and forth without ever becoming too sickly. Mixes swelling acoustic strums with delicate vocals, pensive lyrics and occasionally notches up the tempo with some scuzzy electric guitar and drums with stretch themselves beyond 4bpm.

This is probably this ep's saving grace really; over the five tracks exlovers display a reasonable depth and variety in their style. From the subtle layered acoustics of New Years Day to the upbeat typical indie bounce of Just A Silhouette, all twitching drums, repetitive guitar lines and perfunctory arrangement. Personally I much prefer the first, but it's more likely that the latter will gain them more fans, so the deviation, whilst often frustrating, is certainly understandable.

The opening of Just a Silhouette is vaguely reminiscent of So Here We Are by Bloc Party, shimmering guitar lines and reverberating bass. Then it bursts in to a jaunty upbeat tune which is contrasted with morose lyrics and is more akin to The Lucksmiths, which is by no means a bad thing but the opening suggested something a little more promising, a bit more individual even.

The understated fragility of final track The Moon Has Spoken recalls Elliott Smith, particularly in its strained vocal delivery and guitar production. Unfortunately it lacks the fragile honesty of Smith's songs, although this is obviously a high benchmark to set anyone, and it's a pretty good attempt at emulation which on it's own stands up well. Perhaps the main reason for this being the neat lyrics; “the world is asleep in my bed, so I pull the curtains to block out the light, it's easy to live in your head”.

Mostly though the lyrics are serviceable, whilst never becoming so interesting as to detract attention from the pretty harmonies. It is primarily the vocal delivery that makes these tracks memorable, which they definitely are, there are loads of hooks to go with them and you'll probably find yourself humming these songs to yourself days after listening.

There is plenty to be enjoyed here, but by the same token these are five tracks which could have been written by any number of bands. Exlovers lack any kind of distinction, and cultivating more of a musical personality really ought to be high on their list of priorities for the next release.

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