Ex Hex – It's Real

Ex Hex's post-punk style and blown-out aesthetics hit new heights on second album It's Real

Album Review by Rosie Ramsden | 25 Mar 2019
  • Ex Hex – It's Real
Album title: It's Real
Artist: Ex Hex
Label: Merge
Release date: 22 Mar

It’s Real, the second full-length LP from American power trio Ex Hex, is as bursting to the brim with tightly wound tracks and hard-to-shake hooks as their 2014 debut Rips. However, the band’s post-punk framework and blown-out aesthetics have reached new heights. It’s Real sees layered vocal harmonies and solos fly over blistering power chords as Ex Hex create a world of entirely fresh soundscapes.

Interestingly, It’s Real was a far more collaborative effort than its predecessor, though it saw the band once again open up its creative process to the talents of producer and friend, Jonah Takagi. Ex Hex experimented endlessly, combining a variety of instruments, pedals and amps in a driven effort at songcraft and exploration.

Tough Enough – a defiant anthem completed by loaded backing vocals and splitting guitar solos – and anthemic Rainbow Shiner are two of the album's stand-out moments, along with Another Dimension which blends heartbeat drums, guzzling, palm-muted guitar melodies, and show-stopping vocal harmonies to perfection. As ever, the breathtaking musical terrain created and charted by Mary Timony, Betsy Wright and Laura Harris is out of this world, and crafted with a dedication to refinement, curiosity, and a vision wholly unique. The musicality of It’s Real is deliciously idiosyncratic, yet refreshing and musically progressive.

Listen to: Tough Enough, Another Dimension