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Album Review: The Extensions – High Charisma


Blistering regardless of the tempo they’re set to, the most melodic parts in “High Charisma” from The Extensions are definitely reason enough to give this record a listen as soon as you can, but I don’t think they’re the sole element in “Casual Day,” “Big Tree” or “My Turn” that will keep you coming back to this tracklist time and time again this season. The Extensions are coming out of obscurity intending to revive true indie rock for a new era of listeners to get into, and while their goals are lofty, they don’t seem out of reach here at all.

Along with the guitar component, the beats in tracks like “Follow You, Unfollow Me,” “Seeing Ghosts,” “Scene Famous,” and “Typical Amerikan” are bearing a lot of weight in the music. Melodically, there isn’t a lot of color to this LP, but that’s part of the reason why I think it feels so coldly emotional when we’re least expecting it to. In keeping all of the flamboyancy on the sidelines, not only do The Extensions make it easier for us to appreciate them for who they are, but they make it clear just how much passion they truly have for the stories they tell.

A compelling mixture of pop hooks and bludgeoning sonic atmospheres spark some life in “With a K,” “Charm Offensive,” “My Turn,” and “Seeing Ghosts” which imparts a lot of contrast to us, but once more, this is a point of aesthetical foundation more than a flagrant stab at hybridity. There is no singular dimensionality tolerated in the lineup here; from the moment we press play forward, The Extensions are piling inconsistencies high as if to show us that they can meld whatever they have to to make us understand and feel the guts of what they’re saying.

The production quality feels intentionally messy in a few different instances here, but I think this was done in a bid to evoke memories of classic alternative culture – at least for those of us who are old enough to remember what tape trading used to be like before the advent of Spotify and similar brands. It might not be the gritty pop sway of K Street Records, but there are enough cues alluding to vintage bohemia to verify that The Extensions aren’t so wrapped up in concept-laden experimentations in the studio as to ignore other avenues of expression when they’re rightly presented in the music.

The Extensions’ latest and perhaps most complete LP thus far is a nice addition to their career, and I think it’s going to do a lot to get them a bit larger profile than what they had been working with previously. Rockers who like their beats dressed up in a little extra refinement need to locate a copy of this record for themselves before the summer expires, and while it’s not the only indie rock album I’ve given a good review lately, it’s by far among the most stunning to have hit my speakers this month.

Heather Savage

About Michael Stover

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