Gig review: Ex Hex at Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

Ex Hex. Picture: Jonah Takagi

Ex Hex. Picture: Jonah Takagi

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There’s a disconnect between Mary Timony’s snarling songs and her demure vocals.

Ex Hex are a 70s rock revivalist’s dream of late night parties, chemical reactions, and boys called Johnny yet the singing guitarist has a reticent stage manner and the kind of delivery that seems to only use one lung.

It’s a problem that’s dogged the Washingtonian for her two-decade long career, for which she’s written and performed with the likes of Helium and Wild Flag. In her new power trio, however, she may finally have found her perfect foils.

Bassist Betsy Wright, dressed in sequinned hot pant jumpsuit, is the brash embodiment of the lyrics’ girl gang attitude. A modern day Joan Jett who can high kick while curling her lip around ‘Hot And Cold’ and ‘Radio On’, she’s locked into place by the rock solid drumming of Laura Harris.

Fast and riff-happy, these 14 songs – debut album Rips in its entirely plus a couple of well-chosen cover versions – are the near pop-perfect fusion of The Ramones and The Go-Gos. From the effortlessly fluid soloing on ‘Everywhere’ to the fizzing tease of ‘Don’t Wanna Lose’, there’s a dumb, visceral thrill to the band.

This is sealed when Timony and Wright interlace their knees and, eyeball to eyeball, play ‘Waste Your Time’ with such obvious fun that it’s almost possible to forget that the former isn’t necessarily the best person to sing her own songs.

Gig date: February 11

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