CLIFFDIVER Puts Out Incredible Prog-Emo-Punk Debut Album Exercise Your Demons
4.7 out of 5 stars
I was completely blown away by the new CLIFFDIVER album Exercise Your Demons. After having seen their record label, Side One Dummy, post about the album for like a month, I FINALLY decided to go check out the album upon its release last week, and I don’t think I have ever been so happy to listen to an album after just like the first few moments of it starting.
My first thoughts were, “This is not at all what I expected.” Then, “This shit is weird.” Then ultimately, “Holy hell, these mother-effers can rock a damn song!”
I am not sure what I was thinking I was going to hear, but doing album reviews for over 2 years now, and having listened to over 200 albums in that time, it can be a bit depressing to listen to music sometimes.
THIS was not one of those times.
I can’t believe a band of this caliber slipped past me for so long (or really, they didn’t…I was just too lazy to go click a few links or something).
Right from the first song on the album “New Vegas Bomb,” the album rocks all over the place.
But let me be very clear, this band is by all accounts, pretty weird.
The song is about drinking and growing up and regret, but all done in a pop punk anthem set to thunderous prog-rock/metal percussion thanks to the band’s drummer Eliot Cooper. I have to say, his ability to throw in double-kick drums and blast beats in otherwise non-exciting places (drumwise that is) makes for some really interesting and fun music.
The next song that comes up on the album is “Who Let The Hawgz Out?” which is definitely more prog-rock (think Coheed and Cambria) than it is punk rock, but it is fucking awesome. The chorus on this song is probably the best one on the album.
The line that stands out to me the most is:
Yeah, sounds like something I can relate to in my early 30’s.
The band definitely doesn’t take itself too seriously either, whether it is the song titles themselves (such as “Dick Van Yikes” and “Super Saiyan Al Pacino”) or their fashion styles of a mulleted lead singer, a shirtless saxophone player, or the prototypical hipster fashion of half of the band.
Hell, even the cover art for the album makes fun of the phrase "exercise your demons" by showing some devil looking creatures working out in various ways.
The best part of this album for me is that at 9 songs long, it feels like there is not a wasted song on the album. Every song is done really well, and they are all pretty incredible pieces on their own.
I would say this is going to be one of my absolute favorite albums of the year. I have already listened to it about 5 times through in about 4 days.