At times bluesy, at times indie-pop, and even at times full-on rock, The Extensions refuse to be confined on their new LP, High Charisma. The five-piece band out of New Jersey has created a diverse, 10-track portfolio to showcase their variety of talents, complete with a seven-minute song (‘Isn’t It A Party’), perhaps just to show that they could. Regardless of length or genre, this record is an impressive feat.
While the fast-paced electric guitar strumming that introduces the album on ‘With a K’ might seem like any other indie-pop band, The Extensions quickly shift to a more complex style of sound for the rest of the record. Their arrangements are what set them apart: no one song sounds even remotely the same, yet they still have a common lineage that traces them all back to this album. That shared trait comes down to the bluesy stylings that the group weaves into each song, stronger in some (‘Typical Amerikan’) than others (‘Scene Famous’, which is instead quite rock’n’roll). This solid control over the classic strings-and-drums backbone allows for some dabbling in synth territory, lending them that indie pop title.
With that baseline sound established, The Extensions prove to be masters of variation, turning up the grit on tracks like ‘Scene Famous’ to create a headbanger, while opting for keys and synth in other areas like ‘Charm Offensive’ to slightly soften the atmosphere. They craftily leave space for engaging instrumental pieces, such as in ‘Big Tree’ but have enough restraint to pull the tune back into lyrical territory rather than letting the jam-sesh go on for several uninterrupted minutes. The entire album feeds from these delicate balances which leave audiences satisfied yet yearning for more, just to delve into the complexity of each track.
Finally, just as carefully created as the arrangements are the lyrics. You’d be hard pressed to find a filler line in any of the ten tracks as The Extensions use their words wisely. Not all of it is topical social commentary like ‘Typical Amerikan’and ‘Follow You, Unfollow Me,’ but today’s messy world is a clear focus of the record – and who doesn’t need to get their feelings out about the last few years? Regardless of the topic, the lyrics strongly add to the multiple-listen factor.
With a well-developed menagerie of sounds, arrangements, and lyrics, The Extensions came to show that they can conquer all on High Charisma. Put on your headphones, turn up the volume and get ready to explore the diverse world they’ve created.
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