The JangleBox

Indie, Noise, Shoegaze… Music

Ex Cops: Daggers (Downtown Records, 2014)


La delgada línea que separa el Drem-Pop electrónico (hablemos, por ejemplo de lo que hacen School of Seven Bells) del Electro-Dance más comercial (ya os imaginaréis de qué hablo) es precisamente la que han superado Ex Cops con su segundo trabajo: Daggers es un trabajo infumable que en demasiadas ocasiones supera esa delgada línea de la que hablaba y se convierte en un mero vehículo para el lucimiento de la bonita voz de Amalie Bruun y bien poco más. Me gusta Black soap, aunque el tratamiento electrónico ya comienza a hacer su efecto. Y a partir de ahí, mejor ni hablar. algún estribillo bonito (White noise) y jugar a nada. Mal bagaje para un segundo disco con el que el dúo inician un cambio de rumbo sonoro que probablemente no les lleve a ningún sitio.

“While Bruun thrives in this setting, Brian Harding’s muttered, displaced vocals are the only way you’ll remember that Ex Cops also made True Hallucinations, a debut that also used enthusiasm to compensate for tardiness—in that case, a style of glistening dream-pop reminiscent of a time where the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, DIIV, and Wild Nothing were what you immediately thought of when people used “indie rock” and “Brooklyn” in the same sentence. That album came out in 2013 and it seems like a decade ago. This isn’t a change of heart, it’s a heart transplant, and a cynic could use its convenient timing as irrefutable proof of Ex Cops as commerce rather than art. That’s also a shitty double standard: if we’re really to take their word that they are and always were a pop band, part of the job is sounding of the moment. They’ve succeeded on that end. But Daggers is easy enough to like and impossible to trust.
Engage with Daggers and you hear pandering ad exec logic, an attempt to identify a demographic that considers themselves “indie” but not an outcast. You go to dance clubs! Or at least you’d like the idea of it. Bruun sings, “I never hear songs that lead me to the dance floor,” because this is dance music for contained debauchery, kitchen drinking. You do drugs! Or at least you know people who do; “Pretty Shitty” tries to contract the same incapacitating mental and physical corruption that infects Sky Ferreira (Night Time, My Time contributor Justin Raisen produced all 11 songs and co-wrote a few as well), except Ex Cops never sound like they’re willing to shed blood or have any skin in the game. The chorus of “Pretty Shitty” might be in some way a response to Bruun’s experience in Myrkur, but, “How can you be so shitty/ To a girl so pretty?” seems more in line with the pervasive, aggressive insipidness, Ex Cops claiming “pop” as a cop out.
For example, the chorus from “Teenagers”—”We can start a war/ ‘Cause we’re insecure/ We’re like teenagers.” Like most lines here, it scans as Ex Cops guessing at the listener’s emotions rather than feeling their own, but you know what? Ex Cops are like teenagers, if you’re willing to take a generous view of Daggers and hear it as a concept album about the particularly adolescent desperation of seeking acceptance, of doing anything and everything to fit in. On the closing “Weird With You”, Harding begs, “I wanna be dumb with you/ I wanna be numb with you/ I wanna be weird with you.” It’s the first moment of true self-awareness, Ex Cops admitting that if someone just walks in front, they’ll follow the leader” (Pitchfork)

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22 enero, 2015 Posted by | Ex Cops | Deja un comentario

Ex Cops: True hallucinations (Other Music, Fat Possum, 2013)

En este debut de Ex Cops, True Hallucinations (Other Music, 2013), el dúo de Brooklyn parece que han querido abarcar una pequeña parte de su (sin duda) extensa discografía-cultura musical, poniendo en práctica varios estilos, que irían, desde por ejemplo, el Pop más “neozelandés” de You are a lion, I am a lamb o Separator, a los ecos Velvetianos de Broken chinese chainz. De los susurros Poppies a lo Teenage Fanclub de Ken o James a la vena más Spacemen 3 de Jazz & Information. De los ecos playeros de Spring break (Birthday song) a la vena Kinksiana de Billy Pressly o Nico Beast.
A este cierto estrabismo sonoro Ex Cops consiguen darle un tono de unidad facturando un álbum muy personal. Por momentos, me recuerdan a The Fellies, pero también, por qué no, a Teenage Fanclub o a ese Pop suave teñido de caricias electrónicas con que acompañan a sus temas unos contemporáneos como Letting Up Despite Great Faults.
Pero pienso que mejor que dedicarnos a buscar más referencias, lo lógico sería centrarnos en sus temas. True Hallucinations es una colección de once temas que se devoran de una sentada. Bueno, mejor que devorar diría que se degustan. El buen gusto por el Pop creo que es ese pegamento del que hablaba antes a la hora de unificar estilos y criterios. El amor por el Pop y por las buenas canciones.


Judging from the way they weave together sounds and styles from various eras into one tuneful, dreamily sweet package on their debut album True Hallucinations, one can only assume Ex Cops are head-of-the-class-level students of pop music history. A casual trip through the record’s 11 songs reveals influences taken from some of the most inspired and inspiring music of the past 50 years, from the jaunty punch of the Velvet Underground at their poppiest and the choppy strum of Flying Nun bands likethe Bats, to the gauzy haze of ’90s shoegaze and synthy atmospheres of Factory Records — they only borrow from the best. Along with these classic touchstones of modern indie rock, the group throws in some nice bits of ’50s pop (on the utterly charming “Spring Break (Birthday Song)”) some grittySpacemen 3 style psych (“Jazz & Information”), and early Feelies-sounding jangle (“Billy Pressley”) to keep the trainspotters on their toes. On paper, all these influences might seem overwhelming, but the group, and especially chief songwriter Brian Harding and producer John Siket, weave them into a sound that is more informed by the past than it is beholden to it. Basically, they are able to rise above their influences by writing songs so catchy and so nice sounding that it wouldn’t matter much if they copiedthe Chills‘ (for one example) songbook note for note. The recording of the songs is so warm and enveloping, Harding and Amalie Bruun‘s vocal harmonies are so rich, and the songs are so darn upbeat (and memorable on first listen) that the album hits you in the gut, heart, and brain like only the best pop music can. Listeners who like a little darkness mixed into their sound may come away with a sugar-induced toothache, but for anyone who likes their pop music delivered with a honey smacked smile, heaven! True Hallucinations is an impressive debut and one of the purest, most innocent-sounding pop records anyone is likely to make in the ironic, convoluted era in which they exist” (All Music)

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17 mayo, 2013 Posted by | Ex Cops | Deja un comentario


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