Full disclosure: I did not like Ex Hex’s new album, It’s Real, on first listen. Honestly, I felt like the fucking thing couldn’t un-stick its style from the 1980s, and if there’s anything that drives me crazy (there are many things that drive me crazy), it’s art that’s happy to indulge in aesthetics from bygone eras while doing nothing to update or modernize them.
But then I listened It’s Real a second time and heard, yes, 80s influences, and also 90s, 2000s, and 2010s influences, and I also heard what Mary Timony has to say over the band’s grungy power-pop-rock sound, and I had a major change of heart. It’s good! It’s very good. It’s also very much a response to a specific era of rock music, but that response is filtered through the present day in subtle ways that keep the record from feeling like lazy nostalgia.
You can read my full review for Paste Magazine here.