Ex Hex - Rips

by Rich Morris Rating:8 Release Date:2014-10-13

In many ways, this feels like the album Wild Flag should have made but somehow never did. Despite totally rocking it live, their sole, self-titled album just felt a little flat. By comparison, Rips, by ex-member Mary Timony, is witty, hooky, smart and a whole lot of fun. And it rocks.

Every track feels calculated to pack in as much good-time rock ‘n’ roll thrills as possible, while still sounding cool and effortless. The reference points are, of course, impeccable. For example, ‘Beast’ rocks like The Runaways' ‘Cherry Bomb’ and features a sparky Velvets-style guitar solo.

In fact, The Velvet Underground seems be a particularly persuasive influence. At its best this means we get, on ‘Outro’, the electrified folk-blues guitar of ‘Pale Blue Eyes’ married to the classic end-of-album showboating of Bowie’s ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide’, making for a thoroughly satisfying closing statement. At the other extreme, we have ‘Hot and Cold’ which just rips off The Velvets’ ‘Sweet Jane’. Yep, just… rips it off. Maybe Timony’s been taking songwriting lessons from Justine Frischmann.

Anyway, that’s just the most obvious example of copping one from your idols. Not only is there a song here which tips its hat to The Modern Lovers’ ‘Roadrunner’, said song is actually called ‘Radio On’. Yeah, and it’s a bloody great little rock ‘n’ roll number too, dammit. The pop sass and rough edges of early Blondie also pervade everything, most especially ‘War Paint’, 'How You Got That Girl' and ‘Everywhere’, and that’s no bad thing.

For the most part, apart from one or two obvious slides into slavish copying, Timony has got the mix just right. What’s more, she can genuinely write great pop songs, which isn’t something you can fake, no matter what your reference points are. 

Overall Rating (0)

0 out of 5 stars