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Ex Hex, Stereo, Glasgow

  • Published in Live


Seldom do I really look forward to a gig with as much expectation as twenty years ago. Jaded by age and experience no doubt. With Ex Hex's Rips being a firm favourite amongst last year's album releases, however, the chance to see the band in performance was a prospect that got the juices flowing like old times.

Add to that the fact that I'd somehow previously managed to never see a show in Stereo and the checking out of a new venue added an extra element to the night ahead. Turns out it's quite a sweatbox, enjoys good sound, only has one slightly unfortunately placed pillar and they like to get gigs on and off pretty swiftly.

With that said then Ex Hex were on stage not much shy of 9pm, getting lavish praise from the hipster fanboys at stage left and heading into all the good works from Rips - 'How You Got That Girl', 'War Paint', 'Everywhere' etc. In keeping with their '70s glam sound a cover of The Sweet's 'Fox On The Run' duly made it into the set later on.

Extended solos from each instrument and guitar duels were all part of the energetic performance but overall my expectations weren't met. No doubt I was expecting the songs to be smashed out at a pace slightly greater than on record but that wasn't the case on the night, which left things a bit ploddy for me by the end of the show. A paradox maybe but not one the bulk of the audience seemed to suffer so probably all good in that respect.

Touring support came from the Jacuzzi Boys who I'd been equally keen to see despite also having the option in a couple of weeks time at Le Guess Who? in Utrecht. They charged through 'Smells Dead', 'Seventeen', 'Strange Exchange', 'Mt. Sinai' and a shed load more, accomplished one of the coolest in-set cable reconnections I've seen on a stage and generally deserved a far better (i.e. dancing) reaction than the enthusiastic but polite rounds of applause the audience doled out. On this evidence they're a must-see in Holland.


Ex Hex - Rips

  • Published in Albums

As album titles go Rips is about as representative of the contents of the album it adorns as you’re going to get. Twelve tracks that rip past you in next to no time, leaving you spinning around like some cartoon character who’s just had a close call with a juggernaut. Taking their name from singer Mary Timony’s 2005 solo album the trio offer up no apologies for their loud, fun and honest approach to bringing rock ‘n’ roll to the masses.

Opening with the glam-psych of ‘Don’t Wanna Lose’ they’re into the fast lane straight away with insistent riffs and searing solos, which sets the scene for the rest of the album’s duration. Largely effect-less under the watchful eye of veteran producer Mitch Easter there’s a comforting honesty about the music on offer here, nodding as it does quite frequently towards its obvious heritage amidst Seventies acts such as The Runaways & Suzi Quatro. It holds up very well in comparison to what would be considered classic output from that era and equally well with contemporary acts. Think back to when The Donnas were in their prime and you’re in the right ballpark.

‘How You Got That’ slows the pace slightly and allows for some good vocal harmonies to make their presence felt as a less than perfect ex is disparaged. And the solos keep on coming too, to an extent that I’m at a loss when it comes to thinking about any recent album where they stand out so prominently.

With Rips Ex Hex have fashioned one of the year’s stand out rock records of any flavour – one size fits all on Timony's first album since Wild Flag's debut. Whether it’s sing-a-long, fist-in-the-air-jumping-around, out for a drive or whatever you’re looking for wherever you’re playing it, it will provide. Again and again and again.  

Rips is available from amazon & iTunes.

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