Sometimes, usually from out of nowhere, I receive music so incredibly fresh and original that I'm simply blind sided. The music by Colorado based rockers -ITIS and their new release 'Exit 420' is a perfect example. This is not your mass-produced, cookie cutter and force fed American shit rock that you hear everyday. Their music is clever and original thanks, I believe, to their varied influences: metal, rock, reggae, funk and probably much more. And this crew has the true talent to pull off music that incorporates these styles. Yet, in the end this is just great rock and roll; and I like it.
I knew I was in for some surprises while listening to the opening cut, 'Hey Mom, I Smoke Pot.' This funky rock mix tribute to Cannabis sativa would please even Bob Marley. Actually, this has got to be funniest rock song I've heard in years. I was grinning from ear to ear. What follows after this is 16 tracks of unpredictability and brilliant ingenuity. I can't say I enjoyed every song on 'Exit 420,' but I did want to keep listening only to hear what -ITIS was going to pull off next. The first half of 'Exit 420' follows the style of mixing melodic rock with some funky grooves. By the time you hit 'You Did It Again' and 'In God We Trust,' you find -ITIS veering more towards straight rock with some metal edges. Both are very good songs. 'Jerkin' Off,' despite its obvious juvenile content, is an example of -ITIS' singular creativity: great riffs, astounding arrangement, and an enjoyable chorus.
The breadth of -ITIS's versatility continues when you arrive at 'Wasting Together' and 'Thoughts.' These songs are pure and smooth melodic hard rock. 'Thoughts' reveals some real inspiration particularly in Mark Alan Rodio's stunning vocals and Craig Soderberg's soothing guitar solo. For me, this is the best song on the album, truly great. 'Exit 420' rounds out with 'Problem,' a rollicking rock and roll number and 'Azz Go Boom,' an unwelcome, raunchy, and worthless satire of female-degrading rap music. I don't like the real stuff and I certainly don't need this.
In the end, the real question is, where have these guys been all this time? -ITIS is inspired, creative and talented; they should be on the short list of new recruits for any major label. But, alas, they're not. So this is what you need to do: go to their web site and purchase 'Exit 420,' play it and enjoy. This is some great rock and roll. Very recommended!
- Craig Hartranft
Colorado-based rockers -ITIS produce inventive and clever rock and roll far beyond their peers (if they have some) in the current American rock scene. They easily mix a variety of styles for some imaginative and fun results. This is an American band not to be missed.