The Exhausts - Leave the Suburbs! (Cover Artwork)

The Exhausts

Leave the Suburbs! (2015)

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Many would agree that we are in the midst of a punk rock renaissance, and damn it is a great time to be alive. We’ve witnessed a resurgence of interest and influence so prodigious that punk has expanded far past the parameters set by the ‘greats’ in the early days—in spite of the extensive taxonomic ranking of sub-sub-genres that were born out of necessity in an attempt to categorize it all (while arguing fruitlessly over each nuance like a couple in Home Depot trying debating if a paint color is more ‘salmon’ or ‘coral’ while narrowly avoiding divorce in the aisles…), the last few years have given fans a wealth of innovative and previously unimagined music.

At a time when invention and creativity are key driving forces behind punk’s renewal, it takes a different kind of ballsy self-assurance to tackle a particular ‘classically’ punk sound that has been a staple for years, clearly defined in the eyes of fans who are not actively seeking additions to the classic repertoire—like a well-worn pair of favorite jeans, there is no reason to actively seek out a new pair of the same denim until the previous pair is defunct. The Exhausts do not reinvent the classic garage/pop punk wheel with their debut full-length release Leave the Suburbs!, but that is in no way a complaint; instead, the album’s ability to inject new life into something so familiar is no small feat.

Clocking in at a quick 22 minutes over ten tracks, The Exhausts clearly subscribe to the ‘play fast, end quickly’ playbook of punk, because they have a mission to accomplish and do so with efficiency and precision. Each track is quick, to the point, and with little ‘fat to trim’—making the ‘meat’ of the songs both heavily relied upon and the reason Leave the Suburbs! stands out as such testaments to The Exhaust’s songwriting abilities.

Thematically, Leave the Suburbs! is about the grind, the day to day struggle of making it as far as you can to get what you want—even if it’s not the finish line, it’s the next step. The honesty is less brutal than relatable, but the thinly-veiled tongue-in-cheek smartass-ness of the album is everything you’ve wanted to say but didn’t have the balls to in any number of situations—whether that translates as vulnerable, naively hopeful, not having a fuck left to give, or just good old fashioned honesty varies from song to song, but the message is clear: we’re here to do what we want, because at the end of the day it’s the only thing that matters.

“Journey to the Call Centre of the Earth” is the working man’s anthem that anyone punching a clock (with a time card and not a fist…) can relate to. Between the cleverly crafted title pun coming to fruition in the opening “May I help you?!” to the Poe-esque spiraling madness of the bridge repeating “we’re sorry about the wait on the line / we’re experiencing a very high volume of calls / we’re experiencing a very high volume of calls” you can hear the ‘fuck you’ in the vocals without The Exhausts’ ever having to say the words. But it’s not all doom and despair—the chorus sums up The Exhausts’, and Leave the Suburbs! mission succinctly: the walls are so grey / and I gotta get away / ‘cause I don’t wanna waste another day / the sky’s so blue / and it’s time for me to choose / exactly what I wanna do”.

You can pick up a digital download of Leave the Suburbs for a ‘name your price’ rate here.