Bisbee-based father-daughter punk band The Exbats have dropped another winner with their '60s-inspired, resplendent fourth album Kicks, Hits and, Fits.
Producer Matt Rendon and the newest addition to the team, bass player Bobby Carlson, aided in the process of creating this vibrant pop-punk release, which makes the album a series of raw emotion told through song. The duo, consisting of Inez and Kenny McLain, strips bare with their latest addition as they talk about stories of love and struggle.
"We tried to find something that was moving and personal and real," Kenny said, "We wanted to capture something that is universal and that might touch base with us and other people about the nature of loving someone."
The Exbats have been a band for more than a decade, ever since Inez started playing drums at 10 years old, and performing her first gig at 12 in their former home of Portland. Not only did the band give the father and daughter duo a mutual interest, it brought them closer together than ever.
Throughout 2012 and 2013, they went by the stage name The Numbats, but when they moved to Arizona in 2014, they officially transformed into The Exbats. The was signified by their 2014 release Last of The Numbats" And although it might seem counter-intuitive to be making punk music with one's parent, The Exbats maintain both chemistry and chaos.
On the new album, Inez's soft vocals mix with intense drums and bass in the opener "You Don't Get It, You Don't Got It." The track, which Kenny describes as reminiscent of The Monkees' discography, captures the essence of the album. "Funny Honey," the second tune and Inez's favorite track in the record, adds a funky upbeat sound with doo-wop style vocals, which is comparable to ABBA's "Honey Honey" with the same style of fun summer love.
However, they are also not afraid to get raw and personal with songs like "Wet Cheeks" and "Good Enough For You".
Inez and Kenny say they don't aim to become rich and famous from their work, but to have a real human connection with their audience; this idea carries into their writing process. Kenny says that they are constantly writing all the time, which allows for much of their feelings to shine through in these songs. They estimate they wrote about 40 songs for this album.
"I usually act as the editor," Inez said. "My dad writes a lot of solo songs that are just fantastic... But they're just not what we're about sometimes and that's where I step in to decide which songs fit the band."
One of the songs, "Doorman," recounts a time The Exbats were set to play at a bar. Inez, being underage, was denied entrance even though her father was with her and she had already gone inside to set up her drums. In a Ramones-style delivery, the lyrics express rage: "You're such a fucking hero/I'm under 21/I don't want to be here/This place is never fun/I wanna fight!" "We don't leave a lot to the imagination," Inez said. "We're not afraid to let people know about our personal experiences."
Kick, Hits and, Fits is their first album with bassist Carlson, which they symbolize with the drawing of three feet on the album cover. Ed Briggs, a good friend of the Exbats, drew the feet, while the background images were done by the band members and their significant others. Kenny explains that he drew inspiration from the late Andy Warhol for the album cover.
"I wanted to take that '60s fashion illustration style of Andy Warhol and bring it into now," Kenny said.