The Modern Age
Sparks of Light
The opening track on Exitmusic’s second album needs every second of its more than five minutes to stretch, rise, fall, rise again, and then coil quietly into the night. Aleksa Palladino’s voice is a husky, howling swirl of emotion (forget gleaning the lyrics from listening to the track) that packs a visceral wallop. She often recalls powerhouse vocalists like PJ Harvey or Björk when she’s going for brambles and thorns. At the spectrum's other end, her ghostly coos and whispers on tracks like “The Wanting” and “The Night” offer up a velvety bed of roses, their blood-red petals dangerously close to their thorny counterparts. The singer, guitarist, keyboardist, and actress (she plays a mob wife on HBO’s Empire Boardwalk) is undeniably the central force of Exitmusic. But it would be a lesser thing without her partner/husband, Devon Church, who creates billowing tents of guitar or stormy gales of post-shoegaze textures. Passage is a bleak, brooding, beautiful thing that's both emphatically romantic and mysteriously distant—always an intoxicating combination.