I noticed eXSupermodels showing up on bills last year along with a few other bands who have been putting out some strikingly inventive music. There is a clear 1990s alternative vibe here, but this power trio of mystery men is evoking spirits far removed from every other ’90s revivalist band. I’m pretty sure these guys have heard of Shudder to Think, Public Affection and a whole host of obscure bands that thrived on the East Coast. It’s definitely retro, but who sounds like this? No one presently.
I’d love to personally remaster this five-track set, but I can’t begrudge them sounding like a cassette from 1991, no matter how much I turn up the volume. It sure makes it an authentic representation of the audio fuel they consumed as kids. “Unbeautiful” and “My Lovely Needs” are clearly the standout singles—excellent tracks entrenched in textural sweeps of ringing guitars and some of the most fascinating vocals I’ve heard in some time.
There is an obvious homage to Disintegration-era Cure on “My Lovely Needs,” but it’s simply a nod and not a crutch. The finale of “Hero” stands out thanks to the gripping bass line and guitar before the vocals kick in. My ambition with eXSupermodels is seeing them live, because for any shortcomings the production of this set may present, it’s my understanding that they lay your soul to waste from the stage.