The Exbats ‘Kicks, Hits, and Fits‘ was one of the best albums of 2020, with its play on timeless sounding pop, it offered up a sunny respite from the ills of the world. Their latest titled’Now Where Were We‘, (perhaps alluding to our lives being interrupted for the past 20 plus months), is another collection of beautifully crafted late 60s sunshine pop from the father/daughter team.
Lead vocalist and drummer Inez McClain with her dad Kenny on guitar and vocals are rounded out by bassist Bobby Carlson. Even though the band may sound more polished than their earlier stuff, the production from Matt Rendon (The Resonars) is radiant and a match made in heaven. These songs sound like sunlight flowing out of your speakers.
There’s a truckload of jangly guitars and cavity-inducing harmony vocals on tracks like ‘Coolsville USA‘ (apparently about the long-lasting friendship between Scooby-Doo and his pal Shaggy), the sugar-coated ‘Best Kiss‘, the countrified ‘Practice on Me‘, The Mamas & The Papas bent of ‘Hey New Zealand‘ and the bouncy ‘All the Lovers Do‘. These are all standouts.
For my money, it’s ‘Best Most Least Worst‘ which is one of the catchiest songs you’ll hear this year and the deathrock garage nugget ‘Ghost in the Record Store‘. Both songs are pop gems and quintessential Exbats tracks. There are some slower moments in the middle and towards the end of the record, with ‘One Foot in the Light‘, and the mid-tempo trio of ‘Drop the Rebound‘, ‘Like a Son‘ and ‘I Don’t Wanna Feel Dead‘. I think dropping one of the upbeat numbers would’ve helped keep the foot on the gas. The album finishes off with a tongue and cheek country teaser called ‘I Don’t Trust Myself Around Jesus‘ sung by Kenny.
All in all The Exbats continue to deliver the goods. Out now on GONER RECORDS.