Mr. & Mrs. Alexander Stone is Exit 380's fourth full-length effort, and it's by far the Denton band's most intricate and innovative piece of work. Seems frontman and main songwriter Dustin Blocker wanted to move past the band's obvious debt to Stone Temple Pilots, so the young man decided to create something with more brains than brawn. What Blocker came up with is this concept record about the ups and downs of a fictional couple from the 1930s. Though thematically impressive, the music on the album doesn't divert stylistically that much from previous Exit 380 releases. Heavy riffs are masked by keyboard flourishes, but Blocker's mournful wail still resonates with just enough chutzpah to keep things from getting overly mellow or maudlin.
One can't help but wish that Blocker and crew might have followed the alt-country vibe that the subject matter (and cover art) may have suggested, but there's no denying the hypnotic groove and solid, alternative rock chops that Exit 380 continues to exhibit. Conceptual or not, this is music that doesn't shy away from intensity.
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