[sic] Magazine

Ex-Hex – Rips

Review by Jonathan Levitt
January 3, 2015
Beijing China

I am just pulling through the holiday season of 2014, and all of a sudden this record lands on my desk to shake me out of my stupor. ‘Don’t Wanna Lose’ starts things off with a super high energy, six-gun, blazing guitar attack. I’m reminded of early Pretenders, as well as the Fastbacks. This is stem cell guitar rock, nothing-fancy just straight ahead unabashed fun. ‘Hot and Cold’ is a track you hope to hear as you pull off to a local roadhouse where the punters are drinking shiner beers instead of bud.

The production has the guitars blazing right in your face, which really ratchets up the intensity. What makes this album so fun to listen to is that its not trying to be something fancy and slick. It captured what makes rock great to begin with. Call it keepin’ it real or just shunning gimmickry but I do think in this day and age of auto tune and saccharine-slick production, it’s really a joy on the ears to hear something this raw and determined. Mary Timony of Helium and Autoclave is an excellent guitarist, who just lets some really cool power chording rip and curl.

‘New Kid’ is my favorite track on the album, it does Chrissie Hynde better than Chrissie Hynde. Sort of like watching Jimmy Fallon do a better Bono. But unlike Fallon this is no joke and the musicianship is top notch. The punk rock vibe mixed with a severe pop sensibility, and those primitive drums, says Mary and group are conscious of the rearview mirror but aren’t simply a tribute act. Instead Ex-Hex are dipping their toes in the source pool of one of rocks great lines and building on that bedrock and forging their own identity at the same time.

Ex-Hex has started my new year off with a bang. I can only imagine what these songs sound like live. Alas I’m stuck in China with little or no chance of ever seeing them, but for those of you rockin’ in the free world catch them while you can!

Official webpage.