Many outfits would not have survived the misfortune that Exit Ten have had to endure. After record label Deep Burn went into administration, stocks of the band’s releases were effectively put out of print, and the future looked bleak as the Reading quintet’s forward momentum ground to a halt. So, it is testament to the band’s resolve and musical integrity that three years later they return with such a refined and majestic album as ‘Give Me Infinity’.
Although already known for their melodic sensibilties (due in no small part to frontman Ryan Redman‘s enchanting vocals), the tuneful nature of the songs has been pushed considerably here. Opening track ‘Life’ is abudant in hooks, with Redman turning in not only some of his strongest writing but also one of the performances of his career. Indeed, his performance throughout is wholly impressive, as he is able to switch between a brooding, silky croon (see debut single ‘Curtain Call’) and, such as in the last minute of ‘Sunset’, a impassioned outpouring.
The instrumentation has also made a welcome progression, and stirs surprisingly by utilizing both the ambitious and the subdued. The orchestral touches dotted throughout the record, the strings in the slow burning ‘Eyes Never Lie’ for example, generate a grandiose ambience which really does add much to the songs, making for a certain bombastic and impressive experience which would be difficult to create without the inclusion of this new element. Coupled with this is some guitar work which refreshingly concentrates predominatley on shimmering soundscapes instead of constant riffing violence. This is not too say that the album is lacking in riffs (the aforementioned ‘Curtain Call’ features some fantastic hulking grooves), yet the understated chord work and gentley picked sections again work to boost the melancholic atmosphere of the tracks and allow Redman‘s melodies to take precidence.
After such a prolonged period away from the limelight, Exit Ten needed to return with a strong album, and this they have undoubtedly done. ‘Give Me Infinity’ is a stellar collection of cerebral rock songs which should see this original and undervalued outfit finally take their rightful place amongst the British elite.
Written by Tony Bliss