Exxasens: Back To Earth

Bracing fourth LP from the ambitious Barcelona band.

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As soon as opener Supernova kicks in, it’s clear that Back To Earth will be a continuation of Exxasens’ musical canon, a progression but not a sea change.

In fact, the whole set of songs, both in terms of their constitution and the thematic binding they share, can be seen as a continuation of 2013’s Satellites, albeit boasting an even greater focus on alt-rock influences. With something of a calculated sheen, single My Hands Are Planets evokes Machina-era Smashing Pumpkins, while Your Dreams Are My Dreams and Hugeness capture a little of the alt-rock meets progressive metal magic of Ashes Divide and A Perfect Circle. It feels like there are fewer electronics on the record, but that’s not the biggest surprise here – that would be the vocals on Hugeness, which enter in a stampede of noise during the track’s glorious finale. Elsewhere, Saturn is a fully fledged song with lyrics, while the album highlight is the longest track, Bright Side Of The Moon. Though the lean, sharper Exxasens have proved themselves more effective, this longer form allows the track to develop more fully as the band explore all the musical motifs. The result is both excellent and self-indulgent. But isn’t that prog in a nutshell?