Strike Anywhere – Exit English

Strike Anywhere
Exit English

You certainly can’t blame it on these guys getting old, because they are still a hell of a lot younger than the vast majority of their peers, but for some reason the band has decided to slow things down a bit this time around. Where there excellent last effort, Change Is a Sound, was jam-packed full of speedy little burst of melodic hardcore anthems, Exit English takes a slightly different approach. This isn’t necessarily bad, so don’t get too worried, because it’s not like the guys are writing cheesy pop songs or anything. It’s just a little more mid-tempo.
Besides the change in speed, not a whole lot has changed. The band still uses its music as a platform from which to express its feelings on assorted social and political issues, calling listeners to action via the sort of impassioned growls and aggressive shout-alongs that feel as if they could inspire large crowds of young concert-goers to shout and pump their fists along, and then rally outside and try to make others aware of the cause. Those words are spewed out through the same throaty growls, and are often stacked one layer upon another to emphasize the power of certain melodic choruses that are the best for singing along to. The guitars shred right along, with the rhythm section pounding away behind them, but as has already been mentioned all of the players seem to have slowed things down on this album, perhaps in an effort to explore some new territory.
What new territory might that be? Well, the band really hasn’t shown us just yet. Could it be the much slower and more melodic sounds of “New Architects” and “Fifth Estate?” Perhaps the jangly tamborine-shaking peppiness that opens “In the Fingernails?” Or could they just spend time finely tuning the furiously pummeling vibe of “Lights Go Out” and “Modern Life?” Either way, on Exit English, the band sounds best when it pounds away relentlessly and passionately on punk anthems like the marvelous “Infrared,” which features one of the catchiest and most infectious choruses these boys have ever written, and others like “To the World” and “Aluminum Union.”
The band’s sound is just as crisp as ever, both in terms of playing and production, but they seem to be in some sort of transition. It feels like they don’t just want to write the same song over and over again, which is what many comparable punk bands could easily be accused of. But this transition is quite interesting to listen to, and it leaves you excited about what the band could be capable of creating in the future.