A marvellous album from punk legends The Ex, displaying all the rhythmical urgency and spikiness we associate with them. There’s a nice understated way with the Ex’s music: they concentrate on creating a groove the listener can lock into and putting their message across in a very clear, matter of fact manner that can be quiet sardonic at times. Maybe I Was the Pilot opens proceedings in this steady (though increasingly querulous) manner, and check out Double Order too.
The band’s tracks are always incredibly rich in terms of texture and tempo, even if said tracks don’t initially jump out at you: Cold Weather is Back uses brass and a galloping beat to great effect and Bicycle Illusion and Tree Float are brilliant and vibrant demonstrations of less often being more, sonically. Understatement is the key, often going hand in hand with a marked African flavour. Eoleyo (a Gurage song from Ethiopia about the beauty of Gurage women) is a scratchy shuffle with a cheeky guitar line and a beautifully simple melody: all of which make it an utterly infectious dance track.
This is a fabulously consistent album, well-paced and never lacking focus or energy, from the opening to the end. In fact the last two tracks on Catch My Shoe are two of the most vibrant and energetic. Life Whining is a brisk exercise in admonishing all those who moan and don’t need to - set to a scabrous sonic backdrop of scratching guitars and tappety rhythms. And 24 Problems’ relentlessly bubbly nature and sardonic attitude lasts a good seven minutes.