Potholed Pathways to Perfection. Exitmusic, Passage.

Plucking out and bastardising a band moniker from Radiohead tracklisting is a risky business. Come good and you may well slip into a gushing stream of undying adoration; turn sour and the sullying of song title may inspire some unrestrained ire. So active and indeed enormous is their fanbase that blemishing of the band's rep ought spread like wildfire; like news of a new post-dubstep Thom Yorke rework alighting the entirety of the internet. Fortunately for Aleksa Palladino (of Boardwalk Empire, boxset buffs) and husband Devon Church however, who come together in a beautiful harmony to constitute Exitmusic, they oft better said song over the course of this momentarily sublime first full-length, Passage.

Perhaps thankfully – at least with regard to the ploughing of the pair's own furrow – comparisons with the Oxfordian masters of melancholia are few and far between: a polished version of The Modern Age glimmers with the doleful Starcaster flickers of Reckoner for a short while, yes, although such lacklustre and ultimately skewed parallel is soon spacked into a ludicrous universe of superfluousness by an explosive, outwardly astral chorus. The Night meanwhile twinkles with the breathy majesty of The Joy Formidable's A Balloon Called Moaning, the cavernous dual vocals of Stars contributing a similar redolence as they unite to linger within a guttural despondence. The title track sounds like the otherworldly gurgle of Perfume Genius, were Michael Hadreas primed for the soundtracking of that preordained final melodramatic moment to any which episode from any old sitcom; The City bubbles effervescently to the tribal hubbub of Wounded Rhymes; The Cold promotes a gelid suavity only thawed around the fringes by Palladino's heartwarmingly human warble.

However where Exitmusic falter – and it's surely never grave enough to incur the wrath of the innumerable Radiohead obsessives – is in the slight undulation in consistency. For although musically; vocally; (largely) lyrically Passage is almost absolutely immaculate, their songwriting capacities periodically obfuscate an otherwise transparent efficiency: histrionic and lamentably lengthy closer Sparks of Light for instance does every song aforesaid a palpable disservice given its languid nothingness. Like Nouvelle Vague clinging excruciatingly, knuckle-whiteningly tightly onto Asobi Seksu's Citrus amid a restless sea of shoegaze, it's utterly unremarkable. As is the immobile smoulder of The Wanting.

Thus if the consummate recording that was their From Silence EP may be considered the honeymoon phase – both brief and reflective of, yet never explicit in its evidencing of their deep affinity – then Passage may subsequently be regarded as the rocky patch through which all married persons must at some point stumble. Invigorating, yet not without its pitfalls and potholes.