On Now Where Were We, The Exbats hit the ground running like
a dystopian garage rock version of the Shangri-Las, or like
a message to the future from the pre-Velvet Underground doowop wannabe Lou Reed. The album rings bright, like a beacon
in the wilderness: eminently, effortlessly catchy, and loaded
with buoyant choruses that rank alongside the best chart-toppers
launched by the Brill Building or Phil Spector's Wall of Sound.
Kenny McClain and his daughter, vocalist and drummer
Inez McClain, formed the nucleus of the Exbats over a decade
ago, when Inez was just 10 years old; today, Bobby Carlson
rounds out the group on bass. Despite their remote location in
Bisbee, Arizona, just eleven miles north of the U.S.-Mexican
border, the group quickly racked up accolades citing a wealth of
influences that run from cartoon quintet the Archies to punk rock
originators the Avengers, and from the so-sweet-it-hurts 1910
Fruitgum Company to Los Angeles antiheroes the Weirdos.
Truthfully, The Exbats embrace a wider swath of musical styles,
incorporating blue-eyed soul, tongue-in-cheek country, Brit
pop, psych, and R&B into their sound.
The McClains describe this album as "more ambitious" than
its predecessors. They tooled ninety minutes northeast to Tucson
to record, per usual, with Matt Rendon at Midtown Island Studios. Months later, the Exbats emerged with an album imbued
with harmoniously cautious optimism-the musical equivalent
but psychological antithesis to the Brian Wilson-Tony Asher
masterpiece "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times." While Wilson was looking for "a place to fit in," The Exbats have found
sanctuary via the brilliant "Ghost In The Record Store," which
is "for all of us who need the joy of a little bit of plastic making
lots of noise." Like the best records to croon along with, Now
Where Were We is captivatingly simple, yet hardly simplistic.
The Exbats are singing from their hearts-and they aren't afraid
to bare their souls.