Consumer Guide Album
Ex Hex: Rips [Merge, 2014]
Two decades after Helium's ethereal prog-punk, Mary Timony strips down to an unrelenting forward motion powered by her own economical guitar hooks. Reminds me of an album I loved in 1978 and scarcely think of anymore: the Vibrators' Pure Mania. But where those guys projected closet-nasty nerd aggression, Timony sounds detached and even dreamy as she tells a male who may be one man or many different ones that he's not as cool as he thinks he is and would be better off not trying. Lyrically, this is an advance, tensing with principled irony against the thrust of the sound. Whether the voice has enough muscle to propel the music as conceived is a trickier question.