The Ex – Catch My Shoe

January 01, 1970

(Ex Records)

Feeling a chill? Hard to say if The Ex’s new album forecasts weather disasters
or something even worse, but the Dutch quartet is sounding a gloriously rowdy
alarm. “Cold Weather Is Back” is a rollicking prophecy of the
destruction of modern life — even MP3s. Amid slip-sliding guitars, galloping
drums and trumpet honks, singer-guitarist Arnold de Boer taunts, “No one
has computers anymore.” And “Problems”‘ (the song that yields
the album’s title) begins at the end: “Everything is finished here.”

Listeners who didn’t connect with previous Ex outings won’t be converted by
this one. Catch My Shoe offers the
band’s customary stew of punk-funk, anarcho-blues, free jazz and Afrobeat. The
latter is not the result of a Vampire Weekend-style browse through the
global-culture supermarket; The Ex has toured and recorded in Ethiopia, and here singer-drummer Katherina
Bornefeld leads the band through “Eoleyo,” a song learned from a
cassette picked up in Addis Ababa.

The credits include “samples” among the album’s ingredients, but the
three-guitar lineup remains focused on chunky chords, clattering grooves and
metallic timbres (all fastidiously recorded by Steve Albini). One way to keep
warm is — as one song title counsels — “Keep on Walking,” and the
group lumbers with power and joy. Storming through the album-closing
“Problems,” the Ex generates enough heat to keep the Benelux countries — or at least their MP3s — from
freezing over.

DOWNLOAD: “Cold Weather Is
Back,” “Problems” MARK JENKINS

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