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Exotic Aquatic, The - Where I Used to Sleep Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 7
Musicianship 6.75
Lyrics 6.75
Production 7.25
Creativity 6.5
Lasting Value 7
Reviewer Tilt 7
Final Verdict: 69%
Member Ratings
Vocals 8.25
Musicianship 8
Lyrics 9.25
Production 6.5
Creativity 8.5
Lasting Value 8.75
Reviewer Tilt 9
Average: 83%
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Exotic Aquatic, The - Where I Used to Sleep

Reviewed by: Susan Frances (10/12/08)
The Exotic Aquatic - Where I Used To Sleep
Record Label: Howland Circle Records
Release Date: November 4, 2008

The Exotic Aquatic cross the line of garage rock and into avenues paved in street-folk, gypsy-punk, and acoustic-pop on their latest 5-track EP, Where I Used To Sleep. Fronted by lead singer-songwriter Jason Soroka whose light touches on the melodies are reminiscent of Tegan and Sara, The Exotic Aquatic’s songs are virtually monopolized by acoustically loomed guitar strums with grimacing locks liken to The Decemberists and pendulum phrasings that show sensibilities reflective of The Hold Steady. Joined by multi-instrumentalist Ryan Turner and pianist/painter Brian Pho, the band is continually changing as additional musicians come and go making The Exotic Aquatic as large as they want or as small as only its 3-core members.

The heavily shaded garage rock palette of “Factory” is infused with elements of street-folk, gypsy-punk, and acoustic-pop making it a hybrid mix. And although the track has modern vital signs, it sounds neck-deep in vintage rock cultures reminiscent of Bob Dylan and Rick Danko’s ‘60s song “This Wheel’s On Fire,” which was made popular during that time from the version recorded by Julie Driscoll with Brian Augur and the Trinity. It is also the theme song to the popular ‘90s British-TV show Absolutely Fabulous, which some fans may still remember. The Exotic Aquatic have undertones of this ‘60s garage rock sound, and whether it is done intentionally or not is probably moot because it is a sound lodged in rock music’s psyche. In a time when the familiar palette of old rock murals give people a sense of comfort and a hook that latches onto nostalgia making them feel happy the way a good old movie does, The Exotic Aquatic are in touch with what is happening now and happening to themselves.

Their music is like comfort food for the hearing drawing from points of folk, pop, rock, and softcore pub-punk. The chorus-line drum kicks produce pumping beats with a garage rock trot along “Shake” and arcs of lurching movements, while the folksy pop tendrils of “Penelope” and “Singularity” are twined into a streetsy coiffure. The soft pendulum swing in the crushed acoustic guitar strums of “Found Myself” reach attractive levels of amplitude while the pearls of tiny squats and even keeled rolls through the hidden track “Three Lefts” barely move off the ground traveling at a molasses pace.

Calling New Jersey home, The Exotic Aquatic never fall short of ideas in their tracks for Where I Used To Sleep. They bring in influences from different ports and channel them into their music creating a hybrid that has a hand in the past and another in the present. They keep some areas garagy sounding while others are heavily acoustic or boarded with a melodic smoothness. They are a band still in flux as far as being a solid unit, but the 3-core members hold it together rather nicely especially when some of their garage rock sound can draw comparisons to Dylan.

Recommended if you like: Tegan and Sara, The Decemberists, The Hold Steady

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10:22 PM on 10/12/08
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Heart-A-Tact's Avatar
The RIYL means I have to look into this.
09:52 AM on 10/30/08
can make a mess
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so much of their stuff is awesome
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