If you haven’t yet discovered them, Exit Calm are a band you need to hear – if you haven’t heard them without realising already (more on this later). Having resurrected with vigor the killer combination of psychedelic guitars and powerhouse vocals, it’s no wonder this four-piece from Barnsley have toured with The Music and regularly draw comparisons to Kasabian and The Verve’s early work.
Take for example their latest offering, The Rapture, which is as intense in nature as it is in name. Suspenseful from the start, The Rapture‘s guitar-driven narrative remains commanding and pulsing with assurance until the end. Bassist Simon Lindley and drummer Scott Pemberton lay down the strongest of rhythmic foundations as guitarist Rob Marshall skims gently through some verses and thunders through the rest. A necessary release of tension, The Rapture’s chorus is an explosive, all-in affair afforded soul by frontman Nicky Smith, whose impassioned vocals and inspired lyrics traverse the entirety of the track. From the first focused lyric (“Forever dancing with the devil / Lost in the crowd”), Smith’s vocals rise and fall with each musical nuance: devastatingly tender one minute, intense and soaring the next.
Indeed, The Rapture has struck such a chord with the British that it has now been featured on countless Sky Sports shows, the BBC, as well as ITV and radio stations such as XFM, so there is a good chance you may have heard this belter before. (“Nice. Only we keep missing it,” the band recently posted on Facebook.)
Active since 2006, Exit Calm released their debut single in 2008. As their first official foray into the music scene, Higher Learning is quite reserved in comparison to later singles, ambling along with the measured pace of its reverberating bass line. Occasionally the track’s strained vocals and beautiful psychedelic guitars push their boundaries to hint at the band’s larger scope of sound. Released two years after their debut single, Exit Calm’s debut album was released in May of 2010. The self-titled album displays the noticeable growth of the band; sharpness in sound and a harnessing of Smith’s vocal ability which is topped again by The Rapture – the first single from Exit Calm’s upcoming second album, due out in the summer.
Listening to Exit Calm is like falling down an infinite black chasm but never actually hitting the bottom. Their music is the cold, invigorating air that envelops you, leaving you seemingly suspended in time and space. Like the countless rays of light that greet you in the darkness, waves of guitars bounce in and out of every crevice, echoing and reverberating off of every rock face. Even in ignited force, Smith’s rich vocal tones seem comfortingly familiar – an intangible energy that catches you mid-fall and slowly pulls you toward the light and the life he’s singing with. Exit Calm will leave you forever dancing with the devil.
Just as a side note: Exit Calm can be found on a multitude of social media sites so you won’t be hard pressed to find updates and tour news via your preferred medium. However, it may be worthwhile to point out here that frontman Nicky Smith has a SoundCloud separate from the band, where beautifully raw yet strikingly powerful demos can be found: https://soundcloud.com/nicky-smith-23
Also available to be streamed there is the Deep Cut remix of The Rapture which is an absolutely blissful reworking of the original track.