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Four chords into Rips, and the tone of the record is set. Crashing in with brashness, the unapologetic attitude of the record is made clear for all to see, where Mary Timony and her cooler-than-thou drawl override heady riffs and powerful driving drums. When she warns, "if you're going to stop messing around / You better hurry up, don't let me down," it becomes an undeniable fact that Ex Hex are three women who will always be cooler than you and furthermore have the songs to back their nonchalant exterior.

Rips is an album that was pulled together in a speedy two weeks earlier this year, and seeing as Ex Hex have scarcely been Ex Hex for a year, their ascendance has really moved at the speed of light. The central theme to everything Ex Hex do seems to be fast paced excitement. The album is a rip-roaring collection of speedy songs that mark a transition in Timony's development as an artist. Her days in Helium and Wild Flag are behind her, and Ex Hex is the embodiment of everything else she has done and more. At 44-years-old, and with a back catalogue that spans 20 years, Rips is her statement piece that will bring her the attention and recognition she deserves.

Much of Rips appears to be formulaic, however, there is a quirkiness to it all, showing that despite the exquisite cool that permeates through the tracks, they don't take themselves too seriously. An excellent example of this is with the incredibly catchy 'Waste Your Time'. It has all the energy of hard rock'n'roll, but is plied together by irresistible guitar riffs and melodies that just weave themselves into your consciousness and remain there. You cannot help but be pulled into the atmosphere, with its rough-around-the-edges character. There is a deliberate lack of sheen to the record, and it is this that just makes it even more endearing.

Timony is also a fantastic story teller. With 'How You Got That Girl', she tells the age old tale that every girl who has watched an ex-lover move on to the next girl can relate to. With its quirky punk-pop riffs, hand-claps, and '70s radio rock feel to it, it's impossible not to get sucked into the storyline and see the picture that the song creates. Before you know it, you'll be wearing vintage denim jackets and riding around on a motorbike. Or at least dreaming about it. This heartbreak strain also runs straight through the heart of 'Hot and Cold', which admittedly sounds suspiciously similar to 'How You Got That Girl', but both are important against the way that the rest of the album pounds along.

In many ways, this is an album that feels like it has been pulled straight out from the '70s, with 'Radio On' making a cheeky nod to Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers' 'Roadrunner', but with a kind of modern female take on it. There is no denying that it is all about that vintage style, with a lot of inspiration taken from Blondie, The Pretenders and The Ramones. But what Ex Hex have done is very clever, because it still sounds fresh. With Timony's razor sharp delivery in 'New Kid' or the punk energy that powers 'Everywhere', it effortlessly brings the past into the present.

There is an underlying message that sticks its middle finger up to modern day production and contemporary attitudes to music, as every song does exactly as it pleases with complete disregard to everything else happening in music today. There is no perfect tonation, no glossy overproduction or overly complex layers. From the simple band set up, to the matter of fact lyrics, everything is laid bare on the table with nothing to hide. All that's left are tightly compacted songs that may not have a reflective gloss to them, but instead light their own way.

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