If you have to rip someone off, at least shoot for the good shit. New York City's the Exit picks some great bands to plagiarize, but oddly enough, the trio covets its victims' more lackluster work: U2's October, the Police's Synchronicity, Bad Brains' I Against I. One man's trash, though, is another man's window of opportunity -- and Home for an Island is red-handed proof. Where the group's 2002 debut, New Beat, was spiky and hyper, this sophomore effort is a low-blood-sugar crawl through quaking reggae rhythms, simmering atmosphere and guitarist Ben Brewer's ardently vented lyrics, which pull off being personal, poetic and sociopolitically savvy all at the same time. And while the whole thing might seem like an album-length exercise in dumpster-diving, Brewer and crew invest enough soul and passion in their post-punk loot to truly make it their own. Even if Home is just another case of hi-fi hijacking, there's no denying that the Exit makes a catchy, compelling getaway.
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