I’m not sure about how you feel about the Post-Rock genre, and to be honest, I’m not quite sure how I do either. There’s a particular ambience and beauty about it that compels me to crack out the bong, light up, and look up and into the stars for divine answers, and EXXASENS’ second full-length, “Beyond the Universe,” nearly had me going that exact cosmic route.
Singularly composed by maestro Jordi Ruiz, EXXASENS is well-crafted Shoegaze and spaced-out Post-Rock that harbors enough planet-orbiting melody and swirling sound structure to kick the stardust off your cosmonaut tuxedo. While not a sonic supergiant, and certainly not a harmonic hypergiant, “Beyond the Universe” serves its purpose with modest mass and acceptable luminosity; something along the lines of Alpha Orionis. It’s impressive and bright, but its potential for going supernova is what’s most exciting.
Songs like the opener, “Sky in Red,” offer up precisely the right amount of sun glare and comet haze to keep things blurred between earth and the ether, and others like “Polaris” build into gravel-shaking displays of Progressive Rock. Almost entirely instrumental, the rare moments vocals are heard are unfortunately alien lapses in obscurity that are lost amid the solar flares. The Spanish-sung “¿Por Que Me Llamas a Esta Horas?” is well-composed and effectively sung, but its presence is unwarranted amid the album’s colorful cluster of Post-Rock ballads. The other song hampered by the vocal option is the closer, “Stellar,” another durable refrain that would have succeeded at a much higher altitude if placed among its lyrical peers.
Flowing from one galaxy and into the next, “Beyond the Universe” is a uniform mixture of preternatural soundscapes. Soothing bass lines, sparkling drum fills, and soaring guitar work, great things appear to be at work, but certain aerial attributes continue to keep this from floating into the category of the extraterrestrial elite. The moon was a giant leap, but EXXASENS’ next album needs to plan a trip to Jupiter to make history.
Out of this world: “Sky in Red,” “Signals from the Outer Space,” “Polaris,” “Stars in the Desert,” and “Spiders on the Moon.”
Me(n)tal note: The band’s homepage is very cool. Check it out.
(Online March 8, 2011)