For as long as anyone can remember, Mary Timony has brought magic to pretty much any music project she’s a part of. With her current band Ex Hex that’s especially true, as the trio brings a mixture of eighties flair to their rock n roll sound. Reminding you of so much from the past without really lifting any of it, their new album It’s Real proves that rock isn’t dead, it just needs the right people to make it worthy of paying attention to.
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So much of this record is like a rock n roll fantasy camp, as the riffs are straight rock without any pretension. The opener “Tough Enough” brings up eighties memories of satin jackets and T-Top Firebirds. The way Timony wields her axe with solos that don’t feel out of place in the song, making them cool again alongside the melodies and hooks of the song. That’s essentially what this album is, a whole release making rock n roll cool again. The almost Dokken sounds of “Rainbow Shiner,” the squealing guitars of “Good Times” and the happy-go-lucky stride of “Want It to Be True” all signal a sound that’s not foreign to the ears, but you haven’t heard it in a good while.
It’s not all throwback to one era either here. The way the guitar and the slower pacing of “Diamond Drive” plays out isn’t reminiscent of anyone else, and sounds pretty modern. There’s the trippy opening of “No Reflection” that in some ways could be compared to works by Queen by how it opens, but the rest of the song is all Ex Hex. While the album is full of plenty of gems it’s the track “Radiate” that stands out the most. All of what’s on the record comes together on the song, the fevered pacing, the traditional rock themes and the riffs-oh those riffs. Ex Hex is definitely doing their own thing while they bring rock n roll back one distorted notes at a time.
You can stream It’s Real on all streaming sites, you can pick it up digitally from all online music retailers, or you can purchase it on multiple formats and bundles, including a limited edition vinyl directly from the Ex Hex web store or from Merge Records. Ex Hex is on tour beginning April 02 at Richmond Music Hall in Richmond, VA until July 13 at House of Blues in Boston, MA. A complete list of their upcoming appearances can be accessed here.
Image Credits: Photo by Michael Lavine.