Last month, we spoke with Scott LaShay, the singer/guitarist of a new rock trio called EXITSTATEMENTS. During that interview, the vocalist of the young project—which features members with ties to notable Milwaukee acts like Northless, Soup Moat, and Emissary in its ranks—talked about the experimental, collaborative, flexible, and altogether abstract approach the band took to writing the material that populates their forthcoming first album.

“It’s really a matter of balancing multiple elements until we feel like we’ve captured something exciting and fulfilling,” LaShay told us in that Q&A. On Saturday, June 8, the world will be able to hear what EXITSTATEMENTS managed to capture when the band plays a Vivarium show in support of its self-titled album (which comes out as a limited vinyl release via Triple Eye Industries one day earlier). Prior to Friday’s release and Saturday’s belated release show, EXITSTATEMENTS and its label were kind enough to offer Milwaukee Record readers an early listen.

The aforementioned “balance” between abstraction and function instantly becomes evident in the opening moments of Exitstatements, as a looped guitar part that begins “Letterhead” is swaddled by a muddy and meandering bass line courtesy of Owen Stefaniak to set the tone for what’s to come. Kevin DeMars—making his triumphant return to drums for this project—later supplies some tasteful, mood-setting percussive flourishes and splashy cymbal work as LaShay pitches in some bleary riffs and vocals of his own.

That opening track serves as a prime introduction to a dark, winding, and mysterious world EXITSTATEMENTS have fashioned over the course of seven tracks. While LaShay’s intricate guitar contributions and brooding vocals are commendable in their own right, he thankfully made sure to leave miles of space between those pillars for his rhythm section to explore new sonic territories and for the trio as a whole to draw abstractly between the lines. That space for artistic exploration yields tremendous and, at times, surprising results, including the dour-yet-delicate “Black Catamaran” and the borderline entrancing “Drones.”

The record clocks in at about 33 minutes, with five of the seven offerings surpassing a 4:30 runtime. The breathing room is apparent and the time to traverse is well-spent, as EXITSTATEMENTS manage to capably weave components of post-hardcore, punk, and even jazz into its self-described “experimental rock” framework. By the time standout closing number “Tessellation” is through, Exitstatements has taken listeners on a worthwhile journey and, somewhat ironically for a band with a name that evokes one’s last words, makes one hell of a first impression in the process.

Before the self-titled album is released this Friday and the band plays at Vivarium in support of Collections Of Colonies Of Bees and Immortal Girlfriend on Saturday, listen to Exitstatements in its entirety now.

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Co-Founder and Editor

Before co-founding Milwaukee Record, Tyler Maas wrote for virtually every Milwaukee publication (except Wassup! Magazine). He lives in Bay View and enjoys both stuff and things.