EX HEX, the latest project from championed girl-rocker MARY TIMONY (previously Helium, Autoclave and Wild Flag), recently released their debut album RIPS on MERGE RECORDS, and they haven’t been wasting any time. Last fall, the Washington, D.C.-based indie-rock trio – which includes bassist/singer BETSY WRIGHT and drummer LAURA HARRIS to Timony’s guitar and lead vocals – hadn’t even played its first show. They got snatched up by quickly MERGE and are already touring, currently, with Massachusetts darlings SPEEDY ORTIZ.
They don’t waste any time on their record, either, ripping through RIPS in 35 minutes with steady, grungy chords and lots of cymbal crashing. This album is pure fun, you can practically hear Timony smiling as she sings about school yard brawls and underdogs. She channels the power of glam-rock, telling AM New York that she wanted “to write songs that would be on the radio in 1981,” that would be fun to dance around to. Definitely danceable, RIPS also has a fist-pumping, fun-moshing feel. Almost “joyfully” punk, it warps your mind back to 90’s riot grrrl mantra: women writing songs to be heard, moving to the front of the pit and maybe making punk a little less about violence and more about making noise that demands being noticed.
“Don’t Wanna Lose” opens the album with jangly guitars and forceful melodies that you can’t resist moving along with. Timony’s deep voice growls out “If you listen close, you might hear the sound” as the first words of wisdom from the trio. They’re not reinventing any genres with this album, and they know it, but they’re harking back to a classic sound and perfecting it in a way that rockets this album right to a classic. Right in the middle of the record is “Waterfall,” full of energy and dangerously catchy. Towards the end, “Everywhere” adds some fuzzy chords cut with a clear, high-pitched guitar solo, and the “Outro” adds a vintage feel with drawn out, swingy melodies. This album is almost familiar and comforting in its sound, but undeniable unique. And a reminder that loud music isn’t all about angst, it can – and should, as EX HEX proves – be about fun, too.