Exit Clov: When the Serious Meets the Non-Serious

Based out of Washington, DC, Exit Clov makes clever, sprightly indie pop rock. The quintet consists of a drummer, a bassist, a guitarist, and two singers/multi-instrumentalists: Emily Hsu on keys and violin, Susan Hsu on guitar and violin. The Hsu sisters sing catchy tunes in brilliant harmony. Exit Clov headlined the show on 2/23/08 at the Third Floor, organized by Fredericksburg All Ages. Hipster teens’ dancing feet, swinging hips, giggles, and sing-alongs made an uber-fun time.

Their influences are multi-sourced: “ranging from Bartok to Blondie.” Or from new wave to no wave. Indeed, Exit Clov’s music sounds like a party at Music & Arts (or any local music stores) where kids with intensive classical music background jamming with their next door neighbor punk kids. Thick, fingery keyboard textures, offset by the sustained tones on the violin, create a lush harmonic ecology supported by dance rock rhythm and bursts of guitar noises reminiscent of Melt Banana. The two aesthetic streams interact in creative and sometimes clashing ways. What was most memorable, perhaps, was Emily and Susan’s vocal harmony. They sang beautiful parallel and contrapuntal harmonies in uncannily similar vocal timbres. Like the Carpenters or the Carter Family, their familial vocals are aurally congenial and pleasant. Exit Clov’s pop sensibility – marked by memorable and well-composed tunes delivered with a stylistic exquisiteness - reminds me of East Asian Pop – MandoPOP, TPOP, JPOP, or KPOP.

The kids at the show knew their songs. They sang, “i survived cause i surrendered to the rules of / mkdelta / a committee artichoke / feel the power of service, serving the enemy / It's sexy, infect me!” Drawing historical and social facts and then juxtaposing them with mundane metaphors, Exit Clov’s lyrics lean toward the post-Gen-X irony and absurdity. Exit Clov describes their music as “tunes of revolution, ennui, and societal idiocy—smart music for kids of the next century.” Trivializing political uncertainty and nihilism sprinkled in with non-sequitur humor, Exit Clov is serious non-serious indie pop rock for fun-loving takers who are not afraid to move.

more images of Exit Clov.


Kevin said...

Hey their musics addicting. Telling you, the Hsu's can sing *hint*!

Ho Chie said...

Emily and Susan are super talented and have such amazing voices... I did an interview with them for a TaiwaneseAmerican.org Spotlight in 2006.

Anonymous said...

I have been to a couple of their things in DC. I like them. Well, I have met them back in 2000 when they were still at NWU, but didnt know they can sing.