Ex Hex - Rips
Mary Timony's latest venture since Wild Flag (the super indie supergroup she formed with 2/3 of Sleater-Kinney) is unexpectedly approachable, and great, great fun. Whereas Wild Flag, Helium (the band she fronted in the mid-90s) and her solo work delighted in screwing with indie pop conventions, Rips is less cool by some distance. Its major chord buzz, barrelling hooks and a distinctly bar-room bonhomie see it put foot tapping some way ahead of chin stroking. It's like someone finally made a 'good driving album' for people who hate driving.
Timony (an always characterful player – sensational here), Betsy Wright (bass) and Laura Harris (drums) kick up a storm reminiscent not so much of the 90's alt scene but of the much-maligned 80's New Wave. Rips is all about the big. Big tunes, big sound, big bang. Hints of Cheap Trick and The Knack abound. If you can get through 'Waste Your Time' without singing The Cars' 'You Might Think' over it, seriously, you're not doing it properly. Rips is a blast from start to finish. Simultaneously playful and deadly fucking serious, it's a new high for Timony. Here's hoping her (still) emerging voice retains some of that Wild Flag goodwill, because this smoking trio could well be her finest outlet to date. True to their name, Ex Hex work a strange and dark magic, and Rips is a spellbinding debut.