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First Play: Exitmusic, The Recognitions

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Andrea Warner

It’s a question that’s asked again and again — when love is over, where does it go? — but few bands have contemplated, interrogated and danced with that question so unguardedly as Exitmusic does on what is possibly their final album together, The Recognitions.

The Recognitions drops April 20 and is available for pre-order now. You can listen to it one week before its release via the CBC Music player.

New York City-based duo Exitmusic is singer-songwriter and actor Aleksa Palladino and singer-songwriter and model Devon Church (who hails from Winnipeg). They self-released their first album in 2008, The Decline of the West, and got married that same year. Following the release of their third record, 2012’s Passage, the pair quietly separated. But they also kept working on and writing The Recognitions.

“Our entire marriage was based on writing songs,” Palladino told Pop Matters. “It was all we did. By the time we released any music we'd been writing and recording together for probably seven years. In some naïve and innocent and really beautiful way, we really believed in what we were doing. I think the band meant more to us than any individual part of our relationship.”

The record is a collection of lucid dreamscapes and soft ghosts, moments and feelings that haunt us on the other side of a long, labyrinthine goodbye. “It’s undercover but we’re so in love,” Palladino sings on the album’s second track, “Iowa,” before the kicker: “And the sun shines on our death, Iowa.”

The Recognitions is steeped in melodrama and shadows, and the arrangements are interesting enough to merit an instrumental version of the record, particularly the Brian Eno-esque “Gold Coast” and the synth-circus-goth of “Crawl,” which is also one of Palladino’s strongest performances vocally. Exitmusic closes the record on the quiet and spare “The Distance,” which Palladino wrote for Church before they were married. It’s a beautiful, broken elegy now, a love song for what was rather than what’s to come — recognitions of both their beginning and their end.

Pre-order Exitmusic’s The Recognitions.

Find me on Twitter: @_AndreaWarner

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