By: Eric Greenwood
From the artwork to the font to the snotty pose, it looks as if The Exit were going to be a rough and tumble punk rock outfit from big, bad New York City, but, unfortunately, the band opts for a much more streamlined and safe approach. The New Beat is filled with saccharine harmonies, light-hearted pop, and barely an hint of an edge. I would be hard-pressed even to give this band a "punk roots" comparison because that would be misleading. The Exit's roots seem to be in commercial pop-rock. The band's own bio purports an influence of early British garage punk, but that couldn't be further from the truth. At least it doesn't reveal itself in any way, shape, or form in any of these songs. The Exit clearly has its sights set on Jimmy Eat World's sloppy seconds, and that's going to depress anyone with even a cursory lesson in punk.
I'm a fan of catchy pop songs as much as the next guy, but there has to be some kind of tension or strain to hold my interest. The Exit provides neither. Competent musicianship and an ear for melody aside, it's impossible to ignore blasé sentiments like "find me, wandering the streets again" ("Find Me"). I can't imagine giving less of a shit about a band that has nothing to say and can't even say it in a remotely interesting way. The entire album is a lesson in what not to do lyrically. From "Lonely Man's Wallet": "I'm gonna throw it all away/so don't try and stop me/I'm not me." Maybe these guys are just really young, but, still, anyone over eighteen should know better than to string together a bunch of sappy cliches. From the same song: "I don't want to tell the story of this tortured soul." Now that sucks for two reasons. One, it uses the word "soul"- an automatic no-no in any self-respecting lyric-writer's code of ethics. And two, it is embarrassingly hackneyed.
Not that I expect experimental poetry from a pop group (and that's all The Exit is- a dime a dozen pop group), but The Exit treads water that's too shallow even to make a mess in. Bands like No Doubt and Sugar Ray are more deviant than The Exit. At least Mark McGrath likes a hot plate every now and again. And I hear he's quite the golden shower fan. This is as safe as Sunday morning at church with your parents. We're talking Goo Goo Dolls safe here, and it's overtly sensitive for the sake of posturing, which pisses me off to no end. I'm so sick of self-absorbed sensitive boys with nothing to say. Now there's bound to be some vapid tail out there for The Exit to prey on with this schlock, but you can count out the smart ones, guys. Avoid Boston on tour. Too many brainy chicks up there. Those ladies will see right through your hollow pleas of self-pity. Try Charleston, West Virginia. That seems more your speed. I can't believe this band is from New York City…