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Album of the Month

Album: Rips
Artist: Ex Hex
Release Date: Oct 14, 2014
Label: Merge

As appeared in the NDSU Spectrum


Review by Cydney Berlinger

Ex Hex wasted no time in creating their debut Rips. The garage-rock trio out of Washington D.C. came screaming out of left field proving themselves the best supergroup 2014 has seen yet - a title guitarist Mary Timony may be all too reluctant to accept.

Timony is no rookie when it comes to being a bandmate. After beginning in punk outfit Audioclave, she then moved on to indie trio Helium, which crumbled right around the turn of the century. She started the millennium off going solo, only to join half of Sleater-Kinney to form Wild Flag, whose 2010 album gained a notable amount of critical acclaim only to fall apart quickly thereafter. When all seemed bleak, fellow D.C. rockers Betsy Wright and Laura Harris materialized and soon enough the trio began playing under the moniker Ex Hex, the name of Timony’s 2005 solo album.

Their debut album, clocking in at just over thirty minutes, packs a punch of screaming guitars, driving rhythm and catchy vocals that would make any Runaways fan feel a little woozy. Rips opens with “Don’t Wanna Lose,” a girl-rock anthem with vocally driven verses that melt into a driving chorus with insatiable pop sensibilities. Lyrically, “Don’t Wanna Lose” sets a precedent for the rest of the album, which mainly deals with the desire for or loss of love. The album clips along with the constant driving, gritty guitar up until “Hot and Cold,” a laid-back anthem filled with soft, groovy guitar – a song just asking to be incorporated in a trendy bar scene in an indie rom-com. The album ends in the only way a great rock album could: a slow burner featuring a rippin’ guitar and a classic fade out.

Ex Hex reassures the listener throughout that rock and roll is indeed alive, packing all of the sincerity of girl punk staples Sleater-Kinney and Bikini Kill while maintaining an element of undeniable relevance. For the love of all things good, let’s hope that this supergroup is here to stay.