Today I discovered that Exit Calm have split. To say I’m gutted is an understatement. They were a truly majestic band – the like of which I doubt we’ll see again. Immensely talented. Understated. And largely undiscovered, which made it all the more beautiful. It absolutely pains me to even be typing about them in the past tense.
I first saw them play the Cherry Bomb Disco at Carter’s No. 7 in Barnsley (“playing bass lines so low they make you shit”) back in 2007. That was on the back of hearing Rob Marshall’s echoic guitar distortions from their early B-side Awake trickle into my student room through my modest Dell speakers while meandering on Myspace.
Later that year I saw them perform in front of about three people at Susumi in Derby, and the band were kind enough to invite me into their room after the gig to give an interview for the student paper I was editing at the time.
I must have seen them a dozen times since then – supporting The Music, headlining at the Cockpit in Leeds (whose recent closure is a sad story in itself) and culminating in what turned out to be their final ever performance at The Underground, back in Barnsley, on 20th December 2014.
My wife and I even chose Higher Bound for our first dance at our wedding just the year before. That’s how entrenched the band was in my life – our lives.
I’ve got so many happy memories watching them and absorbing every note, every sound and every moment of their towering performances in places like Sheffield, London and Manchester. It’s a crying shame that I won’t be able to experience any of that euphoria again.
They released an early EP and two albums. I believe they had pretty much finished a third, some of which they showcased during a UK tour last autumn, yet it’s material that probably won’t ever see the light of day – which is a travesty, because it was shaping up to be a cracker.
The latest news on their website still advertises their ‘exclusive tour date’ that ended up being their last. It hangs eerily on the internet, almost in a separate world that is in denial and hasn’t yet come to terms with the news.
In their own words, when announcing their split, ‘nothing lasts forever’. How crushingly true.