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  • Writer's pictureNikki Smash

The Exies sPIRITS hIGH are they back? What does this mean?

Updated: Jan 28, 2023

Scott Stevens Exies are back!

The Exies have returned with “SPRITS HIGH” and it’s absolutely brilliant. The Exies suddenly and unexpectedly split in 2010 following extensive touring from their stella fourth release of 2007’s “A Modern Way of Living With The Truth” and seemingly just shut up shop and were sadly put into the list of great rock bands who suffered at the hands of the global crash of the time.

However, behind closed doors Scott Stevens was making a name for himself as the world’s premier rock songwriter and producer. If you haven’t heard The Eixes I can 100% guarantee that you’ve heard the genius song writing and production of Scott Stevens with cuts with likes of; Shinedown, Halestorm, Theory of a Deadman, Daughtry, Nothing More, Skillet & the mighty Scott Stapp, just to skim the surface.

I’d like to go on record and say I’ve been a huge fan and admirer of Scott and The Exies as well as his work as a writer. From my days of being in The Rocket Dolls and Myspace I’ve been lucky to befriend Scott personally across social media. I've kept a close eye on his contributions to music over the years and he's given me much joy as well as influence my own song writing. Scott has this incredible way of delivering melody like no one else can and intertwining great instrumentation with vocal melody; you can hear his influence with collaborating artists to the point you can hear the tracks on an album that he hasn't worked on. Scott’s subtle but powerful influence on other songwriters around him leaves an almost better educational knowledge on them. This is arguably noticed in the sales and streams of the artist on those particular tracks as well, although sales numbers and streams are in my opinion very meaningless in the grand scheme of things but you can use this as a measure to see his impact.

Ok, right now to the present day… “SPIRITS HIGH” has seemingly come from nowhere, with no hype and no media coverage, just Scott posting on his Instagram and Twitter accounts respectively. As an artist myself I have access to Spotify analytics and you can compare your work to other artists I’ve quickly looked at and The Exies over the last year to 18 months have been gaining a very natural increase in monthly listeners from roughly 180,000 to just over 451,000monthly listeners today, which is just under a triple increase. For a band that split 13 years ago this is a rather incredible feat especially in modern music and the way big tech are running the music industry now and Spotify's insatiable thirst for new music and for artists to be slaves to pumping out new material quicker than fast-food restaurant servers behind the till.

The song itself is classic Scott Stevens and it hits everything I love about his writing, production, singing, and guitar playing. It starts with a crystal-clear clean tone reminiscent of ‘Ugly’ from 2004’s “Head for the Door”. From my own knowledge I bet Scott’s using a PRS McCarty 594 into a Fender amp or Dual Rectifier for this clean tone. His voice has matured like a fine dark red wine, sweet and refined, before hitting that iconic sandpaper gravel tone in his voice. Counterpart guitars are doing exactly what you’d expect from Scott playing in and around his signature choice of melody. My nostalgia is off the scale here but importantly this doesn’t sound like he’s repeating the past Scott; he's managed to make this Post-Grunge, Riff-Rock feel fresh, current, and important. This leads me to the next and arguably the most important thing… the lyrics. All of this would be pretty pointless really if there is nothing being said, nothing to base this on. Well, of course what are you expecting? Am I going to continue my praise with his lyrical genius or is this going to fall flat? Somehow he manages to achieve an air of greatness in this album.

The opening “I try to keep my spirits high, so I don’t come down. Even though I have to lie, to keep myself devout” To me personally this stopped me in my tracks even with the excitement of hearing a brand new Exies release; why? As a man, a husband, and a father in this insane world we are all being pushed through when every minuscule thing you do is under immense scrutiny, it can be overbearing and it can wear you down when you feel the powers that be are purposely trying to do that to you. SPIRITS HIGH is speaking to me so powerfully as the man I am today and as the 20-year-old British grunge rocker, full of nostalgia all at the same time and Scott, as he always does, pulled me right into focusing on so much.

The opening verse continues “It’s hard to read between the lines, when everything starts to blur. Though I’m scared I won’t make it out” Then full of passion, pain and heart on the table Scott soars “I FEEL PROMISE IN THE HURT!”. This knocked me dead. Music triggers so many emotions in me but these were all at once and I felt as though Scott was sitting in front of me spilling his deepest, most painful heart and I caught it and I understood it. I felt it and I think for many others you’ll feel that too and you might not have realised that you needed to.

That’s why this is important, that’s why Scott is such a special artist - you didn’t realise you needed to hear and feel this until now.

Here are the full Spotify links for The Exies. Go listen to “SPIRITS HIGH” with good headphones and play it as loud as you can, get inside of this. Then go and re-live or discover the brilliance of Scott Stevens and The Exies.

The Exies – Spirits High

The Exies

Scott Stevens song & production notes

Scott Stevens Social Media

Watch my full YouTube video to go with this article!

By Nikki Smash


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