EXNATIONS – ‘Pink Haze’ – Review

Sad-pop indie three-piece EXNATIONS are bringing a haze of the pink variety across your summer, with the release of their sophomore EP Pink Haze. Having grabbed my interest months ago with the release of lead single “Tether,” EXNATIONS have been a regular on my many Spotify playlists, leading me to quickly begin singing their songs out loud in front of everybody. It’s such a sad affair, isn’t it?

Made up of Sal Mastrocola, Taylor Hughes, and John O’Neill, EXNATIONS is coming for your sleeve homed heart. But, is the world ready for EXNATIONS’ brand of sad-pop? Or, will these ’80s sounding hopefuls display the next soundtrack of your summer? Let’s find out.

The Review


EXNATIONS wastes zero time when it comes to their conquest for your heart. “Oh, won’t you tie my tether,” the only set of lyrics you need to understand what kind of song EXNATIONS intends “Tether” to be. A track filled to the brim with a tremendous amount of energy, combined perfectly with a sense of joy and nervousness. “Tether” is by far one of the most “real” songs I’ve heard this year so far.

Creating a strong foundation for the rest of Pink Haze, “Tether” is a kicker of an opening track.

Floating on a Pink Haze:

It’s no surprise I’m the hardest on the title and closing tracks. Luckily, I don’t have to be when it comes to “Floating on a Pink Haze,” as it is one of my favorite tracks off EXNATIONS’ sophomore EP. The moment I heard the song’s very infectious “I have 15,000 decimals,” I knew I was hooked and that this would be in contention for our “top 10 songs of 2019” later this year.

If you only listen to one track off Pink Haze, make it this one. “Floating on a Pink Haze” extracts real emotion, real passion, and a very real sense of connection between artist and listener. The brooding nature of Mastrocola’s vocals pairs wonderfully with Hughes’ wonderful show of heart beating percussion, and O’Neill’s breathtaking work on the guitar. It’s no secret that I feel like I have 15,000 decimals for “Floating on a Pink Haze.”

John Hughes Movie Soundtrack:

Possibly my least favorite of these six songs when I first gave Pink Haze my first few listens. But, “John Hughes Movie Soundtrack” quickly won me over with its ’80s style instrumentation and low key narrative. A somber blast of nostalgia, silver screen love, and never-ending teen angst is what many will end up feeling while blasting this track through their car radios while driving down the Pacific Coast Highway.

Slow Erosion:

Thanks to “Slow Erosion,” I’ve single handily created the “EXNATIONS is from the ’80s” conspiracy theory. A wonderful, slower paced masterpiece that quickly shows off how much heart is within Pink Haze and its lustful soul. Showcasing new limits of raw emotion, “Slow Erosion” has the capability to bring many to tears, thanks to an intense outro, heart stinging lyrics, and a big red button that will detonate your feelings.

Clearly the backbone of Pink Haze. “Slow Erosion” is a wonderful song for late night stargazing with someone you only slightly dislike.

Modern Kids:

This one is pure fun. “Modern Kids” at times gives me strong Matt & Kim vibes, which is a wonderful vibe to be giving off. Tons of slow-paced energy spikes, dance-ready kicks, and the most catchy chorus featured on the whole of Pink Haze. Seriously, the moment you get done listening to “Modern Kids,” you’ll still be listening because you will not be able to get it out of your head.

“Modern Kids” is one of those wonderful once in a lifetime style tunes that would sound magical in a festival setting. EXNATIONS are certainly the modern kids.

Dreaming Still:

The downer of Pink Haze, the emo kid in the corner, and the slow decaying state of the world. This one is special. The more plays I gave “Dreaming Still,” the more tears I wanted to roll down my face. A set of lyrics have not pained me in recent memory more than this track’s “somethings are lost, some cuts never heal.” “Dreaming Still” is a true masterpiece of sound, creative energy, and relatable loss.

Here ladies and gents are where we find the true heart of Pink Haze. Helping to showcase just how real EXNATIONS are when it comes to making genuine music, none of that fluff that clogs radio waves in today’s age. This track is what music is all about.

That Ending Though

Just like that, in one fell swoop, EXNATIONS proves that the world needs their brand of sad-pop. Pink Haze won’t be for everybody, but if you’re a fan of genuine emotion, relatable lyrics, and instrumentation that can keep you moving than Pink Haze is one-hundred perfect for you. I personally can’t wait to catch this wonderful trio of music warriors live the next time they stroll through California.

EXNATIONS will officially release their sophomore EP Pink Haze on June 28. This means you’ll be able to stream this one of a kind EP on your favorite streaming service starting tomorrow. If you’re also interested in checking out EXNATIONS in a live setting, you can find their current tour dates over on their official website.

Brandon Flores

Brandon Flores is editor-in-chief and a writer at Blast out your Stereo. He has been covering the music industry since 2011. He covers a wide variety of bands and artists from those just starting to those who already have a hold on the limelight. If you're looking for an unbiased opinion, then look no further.

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