Exlovers - Moth

There is not an ounce of fat on a record that is remarkably assured.

Label: Young & Lost Club

Rating: 7

Swoonsome indie-pop has long been a central tenet of UK guitar music and London four-piece Exlovers faithfully bring together their own take on that oft repeated sound on their debut album ‘Moth’.

It has been an incredibly long gestation period between the band forming way back in 2008 and the release of their debut. What this means is that their songs have been sculpted and honed into pristine condition. There is not an ounce of fat on a record that is remarkably assured. Exlovers’ sound is a combination of vaguely shoegazey guitars and chiming melodies, the songs resemble a mix of early pre-‘Loveless’, pre-rabid sonic experimentation My Bloody Valentine and the guitar-pop rush of The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart. These musical touchstones are then topped off with the requisite amount on introspection and melancholy.

There is certainly a strong melodic quality to Exlovers that shines through throughout ’Moth’. Opener ’Starlight, Starlight’ is a sky bursting piece of winsome guitar-pop. The lovely interplay of the twin vocals of Peter Scott and Laurel Sills are at the centre of all ’Moth”s best moments, never more so here as they deliver the keening plaintive lyrics describing ‘Memories and regrets’ and ‘Promises never kept,’ common themes as they album progresses.

While there is much to initially love about Exlovers there is a disappointingly samey quality to some of the album. The guitar sounds at times feel reverential rather than progressive and there is an insipid quality to some of the more functional tracks, for example the gentle melodic rock of ‘You Forget So Easily’ and the rather forgettable ‘You’re So Quiet’. Far more interesting are the moments when Exlovers push themselves and their melodic abilities out of an indie-pop comfort zone. The gorgeous ballad ‘Unlovable’ is one such song, imbued with a lovely lilting melancholy reminiscent of latter day The Cure, “The more that I hide the less I can see” is surely a lyric that Robert Smith could relate to.

Final track ‘Moth Eaten Memories’ introduces some welcome vigour and it is a powerful guitar piece building to a thrashing crescendo ending the record on a thrilling note, more of this would have been welcome earlier.

‘Moth’ is an album that frustrates ever so slightly as you are left with the impression that Exlovers are capable of so much more but nevertheless it is still an accomplished and, at times, impressive debut album.