The Ex

Dizzy Spells

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    8
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Tense, wiry, and somewhat Wire-like, the tightly wound post-punk music on Dizzy Spells should appeal to fans of this Dutch band's previous work, as well as newcomers who enjoy Fugazi, Gang of Four, or some of the projects by this album's producer, Steve Albini. Granted, the songs are too long and deliberately paced to convey the adrenaline rush of standard punk music; the herky-jerky rhythms created by the rolling drums and thundering double-string and chords bass playing aren't exactly funky, and the melodies aren't catchy enough for crossover pop appeal. But the music is still compelling because of the simmering and sometimes humorously expressed anger that boils beneath the tightly constructed evocations of chaos. The frequently sarcastic lyrics draw on texts by Galeano and Lucebert and attack targets ranging from Disney, which represents the elements of consumerism and pop culture that particularly irk these anarchist punks, to the PR firm Burson Marsteller, which defended Union Carbide after the Bhopal tragedy. Meanwhile, the fierce vocals, dissonant guitar interplay, and jagged rhythms gradually build intensity over the course of the songs, and there are even some interesting quirks to lend variety to the album, such as the vocals that seem to channel Sandy Denny through Björk over the random guitar lines and maracas of "Oskar Beck." Many years of experience have enabled the members of the Ex to perfect their particular brand of agitprop; even if you don't always agree with their anger, you may still enjoy the musical conviction with which they express it.

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