The New York City-based quartet, led by husband-and-wife duo Devon Church and Aleska Palladino, played four songs from the band’s recently released full-length debut, Passage (on Secretly Canadian), all of which were delivered with a majestic sweep — both sonically and emotionally — that belied the modest surroundings that housed them.
“White Noise,” which probably has something to do with Don DeLillo’s eerie novel of the same name, opens with a spare synth line and beat before introducing Palladino’s versatile, bigger-than-life voice, an instrument that clearly influences Exitmusic’s moody, often operatic soundscapes — the song builds to a crescendo, bringing to mind Sigur Ros’ ebb-and-flow epics.
“The Modern Age,” the one holdover from last year’s EP From Silence, is a driving, Interpol-esque chiller centering on Palladino’s repeated refrain, “Ooohh, aaahh/You run from the modern age,” delivered with an emotive yelp that would make Chan Marshall blush. And the atmospheric “The Cold” and “Storms,” a pair of textured slow-burners, also effectively transported one from the concert’s “tiny” live setting to a vast cinematic headspace that evokes desolation and romance in equal measure.
Expect similar results Sunday at MOTR.
Of course, Palladino has long been expert at stirring emotions. An actress for half of her 32 years — she most recently played Angela Darmody in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire — and the daughter of an opera singer, Palladino seems to relish revealing her vulnerable side, a trait that makes Exitmusic’s grand musical excursions impossible to ignore.
EXITMUSIC performs Sunday, July 29 at MOTR Pub in Over-the-Rhine. Check out performance times and get venue details here.