Ex Libras are the latest disciple of the new prog genre, and like their primogenitors Muse and Oceansize, they're more concerned with bombastic, stadium-crushing peaks than, say, making actual music. Their debut album Suite(s) is watchfully engineered to deliver constant radio-friendly swoons. Four of the eight tracks define that heroic, fist-raised-in-defiance sound we've come to expect from modern rock bands.

According to their press kit and a few floating reviews, Ex Libras are supposed to be "pretty good live," which I don't doubt; this kind of music belongs in an amphitheater with a congregation of fans bobbing their empty heads in unity.

Suite(s) sounds as if it was recorded as one piece. It's a good idea, in theory, as Ex Libras is a band that relies on that massive, singular, discharges of energy, and what better way to capture that than to have the band play in synergy? Of course, this opens the door to endless jam-band noodling.

Like a throwaway garage-improvisation, Suite(s) is an album that erodes its sonic concepts to their bitter end. The songs begin interesting enough -- the pitter-patter breakbeats of "Radar," the ascending piano-pounding of "19:04" -- but by minute seven(!), the music has overstayed its welcome. The eight tracks are sonically and tonally of one kind, killing any chance for second-spin gratification. It's a difficult record to pay attention to and an even harder one to recommend.

Album title: Suite(s) (2009)
Artist: Ex Libras
Label: Wirebird Records
Songs: (1) Issues (2) Underachievers (3) Phat Nickers (4) Radar (5) Sun Numbers (6) Audio Video Disco (7) Discharge (8) 19:04

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