Ex Hex “It’s Real”
We loved Ex Hex’s last release so we were relieved to know that their “commitment to larger-than-life riffs and unforgettable hooks” had remained on this release. The fact that they had also bolstered their garage-y, post-punk approach with a greater sense of scale and ambition made us even more excited to check this out.
Opener “Tough Enough” immediately gives you a sense of a band that have an unmistakeable sense of ‘cool’ about them. In some ways tracks like this and “Medley” may just seem like fairly familiar indie rock n roll. But, somehow, there’s just an effortless style to them that sees them almost shrugging off the fact that these are ace songs.
Ex Hex also have a knack of throwing in things that just make them stand out amongst their peers. Both “Rainbow Shiner” and “Another Dimension” have huge chugging guitars which have an almost Sabbath esque heaviness to them. But, they hide them behind shimmering power pop on the first one and then an almost disco feel on the other. It makes for a couple of highlights on the album. Whilst “No Reflection” is another killer track that adds in an almost fifties girl group sound to make it sound like Blondie at their peak.
There’s plenty on here to be impressed by. “Good Times” is an absolute corker of a track. You have to think that its mix of killer guitars, funky rhythm and catchy hook would make it an instant hit. It’s not alone though, songs like “Diamond Drive” and “Cosmic Cave” are the sort of tracks that could easily pick up repeated play on BBC 6 music or other alternative radio stations. It doesn’t even stop there, “Radiate” is the kind of big indie pop song that seems to be destined to be played during a festival headline set.
In a weird kind of way, there’s a really ‘classic’ feel to this album. Strangely it seems a while since we’ve seen a band deliver such a self assured indie rock n roll album. It has the feel of when the Killers released their first album. That sound of a band who have written a damn fine collection of songs and know it. We’d love to see Ex Hex hitting the UK festival scene, as you sense that they could be one of the groups to disprove Michael Eavis’ concern that there aren’t any more indie rock bands that are going to become headliners.