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Albums of 2014 #9: Ex Hex: Rips

Ex Hex’s brilliant debut LP Rips was a treasure trove of rock ‘n’ roll riches sure to make the antennae of anyone still in love with the sound of a slightly overdriven electric guitar twitch and throb and extend towards the sky. Whilst certainly closer in spirit to Wild Flag (her short-lived “supergroup” with 2/3 of Sleater Kinney) than the grunge-era bands she made her name with (Autoclave, Helium), the album found Mary Timony – ably assisted by Betsy Wright on bass and drummer Laura Harris – slinging the kind of lean, wiry power pop that ruled the airwaves as the 1970s gave way to the 1980s. So on “How You Got That Girl”, “Waste Your Time” and “Radio On” we heard echoes of Cheap Trick and Nick Lowe, “My Best Friend’s Girl” by The Cars and The Knack’s “My Sharona” – all squealing guitar hero(ine) solos and back-up “whoa-oh-oh”s – whilst the snarling “Beast“, “You Fell Apart” and “Waterfall” sounded like Blondie and the New York Dolls in an amphetamine-fuelled attempt to out-glam each other, Wright and Harris the rattling runaway train and Timony the steady-handed if somewhat daredevil driver. Rips was a joyous romp through a less complicated past when lifelong friendships were decided by hairstyles and patches sewn onto jackets and scumbag exes (and new partners alike) were forgotten after one good night out; when you could cruise around your neighbourhood with the window down, drumming on the steering wheel and singing along to the radio at the top of your voice and not have to question whether or not you were cooler than the kids pointing and laughing behind their hands. Whilst some of 2014’s biggest critical hits were big, sweeping statement pieces Ex Hex made the most succinct point of all: “ROCK N ROLL RULEZ OK”.


About foamhands

My name is Michael Dix; I'm a decade or so past being down with the kids, but to me new music never gets old. Apparently I like music that sounds like faulty kitchen appliances and ritual slaughter; really I just like what I like, whether that happens to be indie, pop, punk, hip hop, metal, electronica, Afrobeat or jazz. Follow me on Twitter @FoamHandsBlog to receive notifications of new posts and the occasional random brain-fart, and please share links wherever you can. Enjoy!

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