Reviewed by Rachel Rascoe, Fri., Aug. 24, 2018
Discerningly abrasive noise-rock trio Exhalants debuts catch and release, building up unforgiving deluges of cataclysmic sound that recede into melodically monolithic relief. Encompassing elements of ATX predecessors the Jesus Lizard and Cherubs, a surprising beauty runs through these 10 tracks, interwoven into the crew's dark, caustic creation. "Latex," a torrent of jittery post-hardcore, tumbles quickly and punches hard to open. Captured in just one day, the album channels the players' equally represented parts: Steve Pike's distant vocal screams, Bill Indelicato's begrudging basslines, and Thomas Rabon's rapid-fire drum patterns. (Pike and Indelicato conspired in Carl Sagan's Skate Shoes; Rabon hails from Body Pressure.) "Public Display of Failure" takes a moody plunge, downtempo grunge growing into a doom metal onslaught, and "If Only" leans into Pike's confiding, plainspoken verse only to be smacked by bombastic head banging. Heavy, dramatic, and audacious, Exhalants cultivates a rare emotional duality.