Thursday, November 6, 2014

Album Review: Ex Hex- Rips

Ex Hex
**** out of *****
This trio from Washington DC's newest album Rips is an energetic mix of 60's fuzz garage rock, 80's glam attitude, and power pop that as a whole ends up retro-ly exciting. 

Right from the start the warbling guitars and tambourine vibrate through the fantastic disk opener "Don't Wanna Lose" as Mary Timony, Laura Harris, and Betsy Wright keep a tight pocket but sound vibrant and daring; the disk highlight and a great example of what is in store on Rips.

"Beast" bops over to the pop side of things behind a meaty riff from Timony (who shines here) while Wright's bass lines propel the upbeat "You Fell Apart" into pop-punk territory. Things never get overly aggressive though or too far away from that radio friendly vibe as Harris' drumming is restrained, content to keep the pace,"Waterfall" being an example of a tune that could have slammed punk but stays pop.

"How You Got That Girl" could have been an MTV staple back in '82 with it's "Jessie's Girl" sounding chorus while "Hot and Cold" recalls another classic from that era, "My Best Friends Girl". While these are two mainstream analogies, Ex Hex isn't pure bubblegum, but certainly striving in that ear friendly direction. "New Kid" would fit in a Ramones or Joan Jett setlist and "Radio On" is probably the best of the groups style; a tune people as diverse as Pat Benatar or The Turtles would both be proud to have written or perform, a neat trick.

The only downside is that all twelve songs are clearly in that vein and style that there isn't much variety in the 12 offerings. "War Paint" sticks around a bit to long and a track like "Waste Your Time" ends up sounding second rate behind all the other jams in this same style, while not being a bad song in itself.

Overall Ex Hex have crafted a great summer listen with Rips for the fall/winter that will hopefully get people thinking about convertibles and beaches while they bundle up and bounce around to these infectious tunes.  
A really fun listen that makes me wish summer was still here in NYC. Sucks I was out of town when this band came through this past weekend (stupid weddings), would have loved to have seen them....oh well, next time.   

Support the band here, buy the album here and peep some video below:

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