|Photo by Bronson Karaff|
Perhaps my favorite attempt at summarizing Minneapolis's Ex Nuns is Courtney Bade's straight forward statement, "They’re real loud and they’ve got some big fucking amps." There's something in the Minneapoliswater because that city keeps churning out stellar, ass kicking band after band. I'm no expert on what they have going on there, but I've yet to be introduced to a band that doesn't straight up slay. It's mind boggling. This isn't some the grass is greener lament, but holy shit it's a little enviable. Not that trading out the serene confines of our little valley is an option, but the anger and grit of what's been streaming out of the lake ensconced city is something to relish.
Almost every review, write-up, tweet, and scratched bathroom wall regarding Ex-Nuns spends time wrestling with what genre they fit in. Psych, metal, punk, post-punk, noise, and shoegaze are peppered throughout, hoping that one will serve as a compass for the wary reader. It doesn't work. What does work is listening to their records and say, "To hell with it. This rips." It's fantastic, storm-blazing, raw fierceness that refuses to compromise. The songs are rooted in hardcore tempos but take time to develop. Pop-oriented melodies are drowned and stretched out by pleasantly grating feedback. Purposefully timed and washed out vocals position Ex-Nuns as some reckless, time traveling, space devouring inferno. (If you parse that, I swear it means something awesome).
You know the transformation of Angel to Death to Archangel ... well, that's kind of where my head goes or to some Icarus style hubris that finally succeeds. No gods. No masters.
For me, their songs produce vivid pictures out of blurry lines and nondescript shapes. There's an awesome story telling ability to their songs that aggressively evolves as it funnels deeper and deeper. They just released a sweet EP, Death Triangle, and seem to be poised to take off. It's slightly different than last year's 25 Diamonds release, but if this is the type of movement these dude's can do in a year, we're in for a raucous ride.