REVIEW: Ex Models – “Other Mathematics”

By Christopher Eissing

Chain Border

Other MathematicsThis band is out of a different time. Using unabashed and unashamed delivery, they put forth complicated grooves and melodies with punk aplomb. The music is challenging in rhythm and composition and does not fall into self-indulgent art-pieces. It drives with the same unashamed impish intelligence and craft as Devo or Primus.

The vocals are as staccato. They are jerky. They are delivered with the reckless abandon of a stank punk with his ass on fire. They are the melodious tones of the ugly stepchild borne of Johnny Rotten’s dismissal of conventional tonality, having its way with David Byrne’s spastic tourette’s delivery.

Its on Television kicks off the album staccato, driving and as tight as a miser on tax day. The first movement establishes Ex Models as the Talking Heads of punk. From pumping drives to slow breakdowns with slides and dissonance to its machine-gun vocals it will stir a pit more than a geek with a Green Day shirt.

Not since Primus have I heard tight off-rhythms and dissonance the likes of those used in The Idea of Peter North. Add to that vocals as uncontrolled as any legacy punk band with the talent to buck convention. Girlfriend is Worse is the Sex Pistols with musical talent. Channeling vocals that never mind the bullocks.

Other Mathematics combines new wave guitar picked riffs with punch and extended dissonant counterpoint. Its switch in rhythms between rock, swing and hang on tight make it a trademark. Objects and Relations herks and jerks its way through dissonance and syncopation pulling along a powerful groove. As off-balance as the stroll home after a St. Patrick’s Day in Boston, and just as fun.

Reminiscent of Gang of Four is The Fun System. Straight plodding rock with punk power more interested in being more, by less. Supersex lives up to its name. It drives as powerfully like a drunk into a brick wall. Even at a minute and twenty-one seconds Supersex satisfies. Something I would have never said, if not for the Ex Models.

All in all, a top album. High marks to the recording and engineering. This is a band that will be on the radar for the next time they’re in town. It is sharp and intelligent musically and irreverent and unassuming vocally. It is every bit as punk and every bit as talent as you could ask for.

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