Thursday, 9 October 2014

The girls are back in town

The debut album by Ex Hex, a US 'power trio' comprised of Mary Timony, Laura Harris and Betsy Wright, is released on Monday 13 October. I reviewed the album for The F-Word and it went up on the site yesterday.

Some reviews come together very easily, and in some cases I know almost immediately how the finished thing will unfold. This wasn't quite like that... Because Ex Hex have connections to the US riot grrrl scene, and we do get a lot of riot grrrls and ex riot grrrls reading The F-Word, I knew there would be an audience for it but, as it turned out, the album itself owes a lot  more to the likes of Richard Hell, New York Dolls and Go-Go's than it does to Tuscadero, Helium, Bikini Kill or Bratmobile. Which doesn't make it a disappointment so much as a surprise.

The opening track, 'Don't wanna lose', still sounds amazing and, overall, the effect was of effortless cool as fuck punk rock with a definite swagger to it. If this had been released when I was 16 would have loved it but, as it was, I had Kenickie at the time and they served a similar purpose. In both cases, it's the sort of music that makes you want to stomp around town in short skirts and doc martens (other boots are available...)

What also interested me though was the extent to which it, consciously or unconsciously, seemed to be striving towards a classic rock album, an area of music not particularly open to women. I found this basic contradiction intriguing to say the least.