A little less than a year ago, Love Inks gave you Generation Club, a synthesizer filled mix of tracks that took on the minimalist electro-pop genre well. Not even taking a moment to breathe, the band has lined up another album for purveyance and EXI is a stripped down approach to contrast their last work, playing with space instead of filling every empty crack with sound.
As I’ve just mentioned, this album feels like an inverted take on the sound that Love Inks doled out last go-round. The dreamy-electro pop is still there, but it’s subtler in the approach. First track, “Shoot 100 Panes Of Glass,” gives a little taste of this style, breaking in the minimalist style. Sherry Leblanc’s velvet vocals fill most of the track, but there is also a soft drum machine, bubbling bass, and traces of guitar here and there to compliment the deep vocals. The beauty is in the details here, and the minute guitar work at the end of “Regular Lovers” is a perfect instance of this, with just the faintest hint of a riff coming through at the end to top off the song.
Along with the vocals becoming even more so the central element to this band’s sound, so, intrinsically have the lyrics. The title track is a testament to this theory, with the track becoming a story, starting out with the tale of a female protagonist and then follows this character through the whole track. For the chorus, it turns personal, as the lyrics twist and turn, embodied in the Frankie Rose-esque vocal fashion. In the chorus, which comes across as a chain of word association, Leblanc chastises a former lover: “You were never there when you should have been/You could never see what was right in front.” As the song goes along, it starts to loop on itself, but then comes to an abrupt and sudden halt in which the music is replaced with what sounds like a skipping record, perhaps mirroring the end of the aforementioned relationship.
All in all, Love Inks wear this minimalist approach with effortless grace and beauty, though it becomes a little repetitive at points. However, I still find myself falling into tracks left and right, and letting the quietness of the album take me away with its soothing subtleties. Once again these locals prove that Austin is home to some great bands in every genre.