Growing up, Jason Clackley never knew the meaning of the word home. The singer’s youth was characterised by tragedy, losing his father and grandmother in the same year aged only 10. This solemn beginning has laid the foundations for Clackley’s musical works.
This youthful angst and heartbreak has manifested itself in ‘Home’, the third album from Seattle’s The Exquisites, and these tracks definitely live up to the band’s moniker. With influences spanning 90’s emo, punk and indie to crooners like Sam Cooke, it would be easy to write an album that tried too hard to blend these components together without purpose. On this occasion, however, the band have created something greater than the sum of its parts.
The delicacies of horn sections against the noise-rock of tracks like ‘Home No Home’ bring a dynamic relatively unexplored in previous work, showing a real progression in songwriting, while simultaneously paying homage to the classic pop and soul cited as an influence by the band. The lyrical content sits perfectly alongside vocals that ooze confidence and emotion. Lines like “Obstruction has a mold, an endless tiring sea” are hard-hitting when called out over this soundscape. Album closer ‘Send A Word Home’ offers a fitting crescendo in the form of a cleverly-written piano piece and, with the opening line “You can call whenever you need”, it feels like a personal and powerful end to a personal and powerful album.
‘Home’ shows a band that have consolidated their hard work to create a clear, concise, forward-thinking album with strong themes. The quality of the recording is not of a standard you would hear on radio or TV, meaning this will never be music for the masses, but this charm only adds to the magic. This band will become the hidden gem in any record collection and ‘Home’ is exactly where you will feel when immersed in the gritty, emotional world of The Exquisites.
‘Home’ by The Exquisites is released on October 14th on Asian Man Records.
Words by Jay Harrison (@Just_Jay_89)