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Old 08-07-2006, 01:08 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default The Ex - Mudbird Shivers

Track List:

Thunderstruck Blues
Only If You Want 3*
Ret Roper
House Carpenter*
Former Reporter
Shore Thing
Things Most People Think
Audible Bacillus*
Hunt Hat
(* denotes favorite)

The Ex is most commonly described as a "Dutch Crass," yet to me they seem to have a lot more in common with The Fall - after all, they are one of the most long-lived punk bands, seeing as how this is their fifteenth release since their formation in '79, and, like The Fall, they have been evolving stylistically all along the way, starting out as a furious anarcho-punk band, before developing clear post-punk tendencies that occasionally border on the avant-garde, especially on this album, which features plenty of syncopated rhythms along the lines of Captain Beefheart and brutal noise that often surpasses even Shellac's noisiest moments. That was a long sentence. Take the fourth track on the album, Embarrassment. It opens with screechy guitar riffing reminsecent of Fugazi (big fans of The Ex, incidentally) before exploding into a maelstrom of yelled vocals, screeching guitar, driven bass, and pounding drums. Close to the three minute marks, the track abruptly calms down, and centers in on skitzophrenically muttered vocals, only before exploding once again into chaos, with the guitar suddenly picking up and leaping into the realm of sheer noise, all before the track abruptly ends. This chaotic track is followed up by a subdued a cover of a traditional folk song, featuring only vocals and unabrasive guitar. One of the goals of this album clearly seems to be to cover as many moods as possible, making the entire album a jolty, bumpty roller coaster that, if listened to properly, barely leaves your eardrums intact. And, if you give a **** about lyrics, the lyrics here are immensely political, as might be expected from a band that got its start as an outspoken anarcho-punk band crying out against the injustice of apartheid. Basically, if you would be interested in hearing a Fugazi album recorded by Steve Albini with a dutch version of Mark E. Smith as the vocalist this album is right up your alley. Alternately, you could say the lead singer has a thing or two in common with John Lydon and the band certainly does share PiL's African/Jamaican influence. The Ex have quite a few tricks up their sleeve and are capable of taking screeching guitar tracks and balancing them perfectly with chugging bass rhythms; capable of writing heavily syncopated melodies that stop and start suddenly and flow and ebb marvelously in intensity. And of course, they occasionally exhibit the Sonic Youth-like tendency to allow their songs to rapidly devolve into chaos, but they always keep it interesting with strings, horns, harmonicas, and occasionally tribal drums thrown in for good measure. Did I mention they've colaborated with Sonic Youth? Why they don't get the recognition awared to Sonic Youth, Shellac, Fugazi, or The Fall is an immense mystery to me. This album is a great starting point for developing an interest in The Ex.

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Old 08-07-2006, 05:04 AM   #2 (permalink)
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nice review, saw them live this summer, i liked two songs, i wonder if they're from this album....i almost went deaf after their performance...
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Old 08-07-2006, 08:12 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Sounds interesting and I'm interested in an upload.
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Old 08-07-2006, 08:14 AM   #4 (permalink)
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gonna give it an ear
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Old 08-07-2006, 11:16 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I like the band. Pretty good review also.
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Old 08-08-2006, 09:18 AM   #6 (permalink)
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an upload is now in place
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