Ex Hex Strike Again

Ex Hex Strike Again

Adriana SaboWednesday,15 October 2014

The Snap: 

Just a year ago, Washington D.C. became richer for a new garage pop band, named Ex Hex. They were not just new, they were good as well. After a number of gigs and a lot of time spent in the garage, practicing, they released another album, titled Rips, through Merge Records. What makes this band dear to my heart is also the fact that this great music is made by three totally bad-ass women: Mary Timony (lead guitar, voice), Betsy Wright (bass, voice) and Laura Harris (drums). These three are brilliantly creative, and their playing is amazing and their energy inspiring.

The Download: 

Rips is one of those albums that is best played loud and outdoors, so all neighbors can hear. Play it in your car while driving with your windows down, or on your headphones while you are walking around town. You are guaranteed to feel a surge of confidence and the energy this music brings will most definitely move you. Timony, Wright and Harris are by no means inexperienced beginners. The (spiritual) leader of the band — Timony — released two solo albums, Ex Hex (2005) and The Shapes We Make (2007), joined Wild Flag and has, as it seems, finally hit the jackpot when she joined forces with Wright and Harris.

In a sense, Rips is a retro album. It much resembles the power pop aesthetics, with raw guitar riffs, fast, energetic tracks and a great vibe. This “background” is coupled with indie pop-like melodies that unmistakably bring you back to the 2000s and this lovely world of ours. Timony’s voice is one of the greatest things on the album, as she is quite capable of transforming it so that it will represent different moods. While we are on the subject, one other great feature of Rips is that it is totally positive and smiley. It will lift your spirits and make you feel better. The whole atmosphere is warm and soft, even though there is a definite influence of the raw and unpolished sound of garage bands. The uniqueness of the album comes precisely from this contrast. Nothing is over the top and every song is thoroughly planned out — nothing sticks out. They have absolutely continued on the track that was defined with Hot and Cold, developing their musical style further and exploring how to combine the raw sound of garage rock with the softer sound of pop. There is also a definite influence of the D.C. post-punk scene, mostly when it comes to the fantastic energy they bring forth. Two greatest tracks, those that were advertised the most — “Don’t Wanna Loose” and “Beast” — sum up the idea behind Rips.

As do most second albums, this one also feels like a transition: from the debut to something that is yet to be formed. This is why I can’t shake the feeling that Rips is something of a deep breath before the blow, an introduction to the album that will probably be remembered as the best one Ex Hex ever made.

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Hat Tips:

PitchforkEx Hex, Facebook, Image Credit: Flickr


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