It’s rare a band displays such prowess at first blush—but then, it’s rare that a band is Before You Exit.
It’s barely April, and yet I’m going to go out on a limb and declare Before You Exit’s All the Lights my favorite album of 2016. Add to this early proclamation that it’s only a six-song EP, and that’s an even bolder prediction.
Seriously, though, All the Lights is six delicious, perfect pop songs, filled with the rich vocals of brothers Connor, Riley, and Toby McDonough. They’re too young to be this good—and yet, here they are. Just because this is a band of young siblings doesn’t mean they’re a manufactured group; far from it. Rather, they’re a genetically related, talented as hell group of guys. The songs are elaborately arranged and exquisitely presented.
Current single “Model” kicks off the disc. It’s rich, textured, shimmering, and insinuatingly catchy. “Other Kids” is more Mat Kearney than manufactured candy. Go ahead: Throw your arms in the air and sing along. There’s a haunting, soulful undertone to “I Won’t Stop,” a mature, insinuating track that’s equal parts Backstreet Boys and Erik Hassle.
“When I’m Gone” is a slow jam, working its way into your musical heart. The slowdance-y “Suitcase” further showcases the musical maturity of the young siblings, as they sing about taking the girl on the road rather than leaving her behind. All the Lights comes to an all-too-soon close with “Radiate,” on which both song and band positively shimmer. It’s a singalong and a head bobber, all wrapped into one.
EPs are designed to introduce a band to an audience—to test the waters, as it were, before a major label decides to go all in and foot the bill for a full-length. I expect the LP won’t be far behind, nor will the accolades and mainstream success. It’s rare a band displays such prowess at first blush—but then, it’s rare that a band is Before You Exit. A+ | Laura Hamlett