20 for ’14: Ex Hex – The Beast

Part 17 of a 20 part rundown of my favourite tracks of last year

When I heard Ex Hex’s Rips the band that immediately came to mind was Obits; the post-Hot Snakes project of Rick Froberg. They don’t sound all that alike but what you’ve got with both is rock veterans keeping it simple, relying on sweet guitar tones and simple pop rock structures. But whereas Froberg’s voice wasn’t quite strong enough to make it work all the time Mary Timony sounds like she was made for this.

Which she sort of is. Whilst her sadly little heard mid-2000’s solo records were a bit more willfully awkward and oblique her return to the fold with Wild Flag showed she could do the straight ahead no frill indie rock thing about as good as anyone. Then with Ex Hex she proved the point again. The riff that drives Beast is one you’ve heard a million times before but it’s elevated with some heroic lead guitar and Timony’s curled lip vocal delivery. Simply put she sounds cool as fuck – and also like she’s having an absolute blast doing so. The harmonies are perfect, the one liners pithy and smart, the chorus as infectious as. a tropical disease…if you want anything else from poppy indie rock like this you probably need to reassess your priorities in life. Rips finally got Timony the time in the sun she deserved with 12 songs which would not be denied. Beast is my favourite but you could make a case for any one of them.