Words About Music
Ex Hex “Rips”
No, not The xx. Ex Hex is the newest band from former Helium and Wild Flag vocalist Mary Timony. Though not quite as prominent as bands like Sleater-Kinney and Bikini Kill in the female-fronted punk and indie rock bands of the ’90s, they’re still beloved and influential nonetheless. Helium broke up in 1998 and Timony has since been in a few other projects, most notably Wild Flag, which also featured Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss of Sleater-Kinney. Timony has a new project now, though, and one that sounds notably more upbeat than any she’s worked on in the past. Ex Hex eschews anger in favor of an uptempo new wave-esque sound. The songs are tight, compact, and catchy.
The first band that comes to mind when I listen to “Rips” is Blondie. The music is punchy, seductive, and straightforward. It’s 36 minutes of no-nonsense rock and roll. It’s a fun and perfectly enjoyable record. They rhyme “tower” with “power” and “fire” with “desire.” There’s a verse followed by a chorus followed by another verse. There’s nothing thoroughly challenging or strange about what Ex Hex does on this album. This works both for and against the band.
While I’m not in love with this record, I do like its attitude and laid back nature. It sounds like the best pop-rock album that never got released in the ’80s. It really does stand in direct contrast to the current trend to reverting back to ’90s sounds. Ex Hex is a nice change of pace, but I probably won’t remember any real details about it a month from now. “Rips” is a highly consistent album that fits into a certain mold and does so very well. It is a bit too middle-of-the-road for me, though, and as catchy as the songs are they just don’t stick with me. It’s good uptempo background music, but not much more. I’m going to keep following the band, though, and hope that they really bring it next time around.
SCORE – 6.8
FAVORITE TRACKS – Don’t Wanna Lose, Waste Your Time, You Fell Apart, How You Got That Girl, Hot and Cold, Radio On, Radio Kid, Outro