Today marks an exciting announcement from Melbourne post-punk sextet EXEK. Comprising singer Albert Wolski, guitarist Jai Morris-Smith, synthesist Andrew Brocchi, trumpeter and backing-vocalist Valya YL Hooi, bassist Ben Hepworth, and Chris Stephenson on drums, the band is set to release their sixth full-length LP, The Map and the Territory, on October 6 via Foreign Records.
To kick off the celebration, EXEK has also shared the record’s first single, “Welcome to my Alibi.” This track is a fresh take on the musical landscape, picking up elements of ’90s hip-hop and R&B and weaving them together with old-school late 70s style post-punk such as WIRE, and beyond. It’s smooth and sultry, with an underlying edge that hints at something more dangerous. The song channels the nostalgic vibes of contemporary artists like Jack Ladder and Donny Benet, taking us to a space that screams early 90s shoegaze, but planted firmly in the soils of 21st-century dystopia. This gentle dreaminess, in effect, only heightens the melancholy of the tune.
The accompanying animation, directed by Siobhan McCarthy. Channeling a Brazil-esque atmosphere in a disturbing AI-generated universe, we see melting images of commercials pushing the capitalist narrative as everything, quite literally, turns into a joyless puddle of oily goo.
Watch the video below:
“Welcome to my Alibi” offers an intriguing preview of what’s to come on The Map and the Territory.
Recorded by the band themselves throughout 2021 to 2022, frontman Albert Wolski characterizes the album as “perhaps less ambitious than some previous EXEK releases. In a positive way, obviously.” With a total of eight tracks, the album showcases a refined focus on song craftsmanship, where extended jams take a back seat to well-crafted choruses and hooks. These new tracks are designed to come alive in a live setting and are poised to become instant favourites in the band’s setlist. Fans will be pleased to find that the iconic EXEK soundmarks remain intact – the dubbed-out drums, guitars that evoke robots from Forbidden Planet, and deep synths reminiscent of The Idiot.
EXEK’s recording process continues to be a meticulous one, marked by endless overdubs that allow for maximum control during editing. Drummer Chris Stephenson would lay down a collection of beats, which were then sampled to spark ideas for songs. In this latest offering, both the map and the territory are in perfect equilibrium, reflecting a band that’s in full command of its creative direction.
EXEK has always been a band that defies easy categorization. While comfortably situated within the post-punk genre, their music explores the overlapping territories of dub, funk, krautrock, psychedelia, and R&B. It’s a complex Venn diagram of influences that creates a sound uniquely their own.
For EXEK, success isn’t measured in fame or fortune, something they’re well aware might be elusive. Instead, they find their highlights in the recognition and connection with artists they admire and are influenced by. Supporting acts like Liars and Anika or being added to playlists by late greats such as Mark Stewart and Andrew Weatherall are the moments that resonate with them.
This perspective on success, coupled with their eclectic musical influences, sets EXEK apart in the contemporary music scene. Their willingness to explore and blend genres, all while maintaining a connection to the artistic community they value, makes them a band worth watching.
The Map and the Territory promises to be another strong addition to EXEK’s discography, staying true to their unique sound while exploring new musical landscapes. Mark your calendars for the album’s release on October 6 via Foreign Records.