If there was one record I’ve been looking forward to for a long time, it’s the debut of Ex-Vöid. I was a massive fan of Joanna Gruesome, and the fingerprints of that band all over Ex-Vöid. And I mean that literally: the two primary songwriters and singers of Joanna Gruesome (Lan McArdle and Owen Williams) are also in Ex-Vöid taking a similar approach. The trademark dual boy-girl vocal attack of Joanna Gruesome is omnipresent on Ex-Vöid’s debut LP. The pair also brought a smorgasbord of hooks. Any doubt that they used all those up in the megacatchy songs of Joanna Gruesome dissolves in album opener Churchyard – I love every second of that song.
Hence, the likelihood between liking one if you like the other is close to 100%. Still, as the album title seem to imply, I can see Ex-Vöid ultimately ending up with a wider audience with the new band. It would be the logical consequence of a broader and more varied sound. McArdle and Williams sound as punchy and energetic as they did with Joanna Gruesome – listen to the punked up Chemical Reaction with its sugary sweet chorus for example, but they are more in control of their powers, and unafraid to open the windows and breathe some fresh air and space in the songs. There are also hints of The Beths, and I believe some of the songs on Bigger Than Before (particularly (Angry At You) Baby, Boyfriend, So Neurotic) rival the best work of that band.
Like the band explains, they “draw on guitar pop through the ages – The Byrds, Big Star, Teenage Fanclub – and attack it with the ferocity and economy of a hardcore punk band.” Call it altpoppunk if you will. Summer festivals with room to spare on their bill, would be crazy not to book this band.
Bigger Than Before is hit packed and ready to make many rounds on your turntable this year. It’s out now on Don Giovanni Records (US) and Prefect Records (UK).
Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Prefect Records || Discogs