Eksi Ekso

Brown Shark, Red Lion

Having recently halved their numbers from six to three, you might imagine that experimental rockers Eksi Ekso would simplify things for this, their second full-length. But no—the 11 songs that comprise Brown Shark, Red Lion are complex, layered affairs full of lofty aspirations. As such, at times, it sounds like the band are over-compensating for their lack of members—opener “Kills Of The Flood Tide” suffers a little from its own ambition, caught between being a twee orchestral pop song and a moody, quasi-post-rock symphony, while the ’80s synth vibes of “Carte De Visite” jar with its edgy, rollicking outro. But elsewhere, there are some truly majestic and wonderful moments—the Nick Cave-esque existentialism of “Rein, White Sun,” the dramatic overture of the title track, the stark sparseness of “Bellows To Brass Lens” and the haunting, creeping whisper of closer “Black Sea Accomplice.” Despite these highlights, Brown Shark Red Lion sounds somewhat confused and overly complex. It’s still impressive, but you sense that, had the band’s approach been slightly more simple, it could have resulted in a truly great album.

The Mylene Sheath http://www.mylenesheath.com

“Black Sea Accomplice”