Throughout the course of a year, I will sit down with countless records, all of which vary in shape, size, style and quality. Some of these I’ll enjoy, some of them I won’t, some will take a number of listens before I click with the material and some, a select few, will win me over instantaneously. The debut record from Secretly Canadian’s latest export, EXITMUSIC (@weareexitmusic), fits firmly and definitively in this last position. Passage was a record that, upon first listen, grabbed my heart and never let go.
At the core of both the group and the album is husband and wife team Aleksa Palladino and Devon Church, whose combination of guitar and vocals act as the primary engine for this vehicle. There’s a solid, strong and certified synchronicity between these two, which acts as both an emotional nucleus and a catalyst for the material featured on Passage. Add to this the crisp drum work from Dru Prentiss and electronic trickery of Nicholas Shelestak, and you have an organic/mechanic hybrid with a giant heart that pulses with conviction and radiates raw emotion.
Mixing a collection of styles from the realm of shoegaze, post rock, ambient and avant-garde, Exitmusic produce a palette of sound that blends clean, dense instrumentation with a rough edge and a weathered exterior. With the addition of beautiful and engaging vocals that bend and mould themselves to the music, you have a record that’s a truly deep affair, layered with many dimensions.
While the album can be chilling, ethereal and smothered with haunting atmosphere, the finely tuned progressions on Passage allow it to open up and bloom with power. Its contrasting mix of minimal aesthetics and epic strength make this a truly empowering record, one which is more than capable of having a profound effect on those who open themselves to it’s splendour. It’s an album comprised of the same stuff both angelic dreams and nightmares of heartbreak are made from. Granted the emotional weight of the record certainly doesn’t make for light listening, but it’s scale and size is something that keeps bringing me back for more.