Design By Humans
Published On: Tue, Dec 2nd, 2014

Ex Hex: Rips

ripsEx Hex
(Merge Records)

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For many, Wild Flag was a nice way to fill the void left by Sleater-Kinney. They did include two-thirds of that band after all. But the thing I liked most about Wild Flag is that it brought Mary Timony back to the attention of alternative rock fans. Timony had one of the most unique voices of the ’90s alt-rock scene. Her band Helium had everything you could want from the era, yet they still go mainly overlooked. People who fell for her in Wild Flag though would be wise to check out her new band, Ex Hex.

Their debut album, Rips, which also features bassist Betsy Wright and drummer Laura Harris, is loaded with muscular pop gems. A lot of Wild Flag’s garage rock tendencies have found their way into the songwriting here. Opening track “Don’t Wanna Lose” easily could have been the opening track on the next Wild Flag album. Yet while Wild Flag could often be angular and jammy, the focus here is on being concise and to-the-point. They keep the choruses short and catchy. Only one song approaches the four-minute mark. One of the major influences on Rips is the punchy, yet poppy songwriting of The Cars. Songs like “Hot and Cold” and “How You Got That Girl” are only a keyboard shy of sounding like lost Cars classics. This is the type of stuff people had in mind when they invented the term power-pop. I’m sure all of these songs would sound great pumping out of a car stereo. Here’s hoping they stick around long enough for album number two.

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Ex Hex: Rips