Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
In this review I’ll be taking a look at the band Rexford and their new EP,’Good Lie.’ The three piece band is one of the more interesting acts I’ve looked at in recent memory, combining a pop influence with hints of soul and other indie music to craft a rather original sound. First, though, let’s check out some info on the band.
Rexford consists of vocalist Matthew Hashimoto, keyboardist Floris Boere, and drummer Derek Nelson. The New York-based band’s lack of a guitarist was immediately intriguing to me, however, since a modern lineup without one is increasingly rare. They perform all of the synthesized instrumentation live as well, which is certainly a compelling way to attack live performance.
‘Good Lie’ is an EP that is exceptionally produced. The musicians sync together incredibly well in the musical soundscape and the mix sounds like its straight out of a professional, high end studio. That’s always a huge selling point for an independent act since the scene is often plagued with poor self-production efforts.
Now, a band that centralizes around synthesizers runs the risk of sounding overproduced. Rexford manages this space well, however, and it doesn’t feel overproduced at all. In fact, you get so lost in the mixes that you forget you’re just listening to three guys - they emanate the illusion of a much larger, more complex act.
Musically, the songs are top notch. The title track introduces you to Rexford in an epic fashion with incredibly catchy choruses, beautiful verses, and an irresistibly lovable synthesizer lead. ‘Don’t Look Back’ captures a more soulful persona on the part of Hashimoto, making it a stark contrast to the title track. It works, though, and Boere plays off of Hashimoto’s vocals beautifully.
‘Space Parfait’ boasts an intriguingly different spoken word introduction followed by the strongest vocal performance of the record. For a pop-based group, the lyrics are surprisingly excellent. ‘Anthem’ feels like the weaker of the five tracks with a slightly stereotypical chorus and droning nature, but with that said, the weakest of five powerful tracks isn’t anything to be concerned about.
The album finishes up with ‘Yes, Virginia.’ Boere’s piano is exhilarating on this song, crafting the most magnificent sound space of the record. When Nelson drops in, the song comes full circle, managing the perfect balance between soul and pop.
I don’t normally add music that I get asked to review to my own personal playlist. With ‘Good Lie,’ however, two or three of these tracks are getting thrown into my regular rotation. These songs are truly beautiful pop music. I have the tendency to harp on modern pop artists and hammer them for unoriginal music, overly produced tracks, and stereotypical lyrics. Rexford is the shelter from the storm for me, proving to me that pop music isn’t dead, it’s just sleeping. Rexford is the right band to wake it up.
Rexford's Website: http://www.rexfordmusic.com/