Enter to Exit

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From the opening organ notes on "Howard Hughes," it's apparent that Fernando's Enter to Exit isn't your average pop/rock album. Sure, it's full of sweet, somber vocals and catchy hooks -- but the album's got something to it you don't hear very often on melodic pop/rock releases -- and that's raw emotion. Fernando consist of Portland, OR, pop songwriter Fernando Viciconte, as well as Jeff "Chet" Lyster and Derek Brown (both of the Eels), Richmond Fontaine's Paul Brainard, Qwee, and Lewi Longmire (a stalwart presence in the Pacific Northwest's roots rock scene). Such a blending of musicians and styles results in a beautifully eclectic album. The songs on Enter to Exit range from lighthearted, upbeat pop/rockers in the vein of the Beatles to mournful, sorrowful ballads. The group excels with melancholy tunes like "The Change in Us" as well as it does with the infectiously poppy "The Reluctant Deity." The band keeps things interesting with pedal steel on the gorgeous "The Devil's in the Sky," a song that could easily find its way onto a soundtrack for a Western. Fernando switch themes up again with a banjo-heavy "Pasajeros," sung entirely in Spanish. Still, with such a unique style, there's something nostalgic about Enter to Exit. It's somehow reminiscent of early- and mid-'90s melancholy alternative, and Fernando even incorporate Alice in Chains-style muddy distorted guitar licks onto "One Trick Pony." Enter to Exit is a dream from start to finish -- an ethereal journey combining aspects of indie rock and roots rock. This is a group to keep your eyes out for.

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