Ex People – “Bird” (New Heavy Sounds)
Fed by the pagan femme doom of the Black Country’s Alunah comes London’s Ex People. Hailing from Hackney, home to urban blight as well as gentrification, Ex People take it all in, not as retro hippies but as young, urban modernists with a penchant for decay and depression. From playing in a series of riot grrrl and noise bands vocalist Laura and drummer Vicki hooked up with guitarist Calum and bassist Ed in 2015 to form and share stages with underground bands like Palehorse, Lower Slaughter, Torpor, and Church of the Cosmic Skull. Releasing a single garnering interest from the national press, Ex People then wrote and released a video directed by DIY filmmaker Jojo Khor, creating the impetus for this captivating debut. Fed by Calum’s phat fuzz guitar occasionally wigging out in wailing wah and Ed’s thick dirty bass come the grungy angelic vocals of Laura, gliding over the smog of heavy down tuned doom only kept in check by Vicki’s thumping beats – and serious cymbal indulgences. Indeed, despite involving Wayne Adams (Vodun, USA Nails, Death Pedals, Casual Nun) there’s a definite garage sound and DIY feel to the 10 weighty tracks here, lyrically reflecting the creative mindsets behind them from dystopia to domestic violence! From the pseudo grind groove of ‘Without’ with its distorted bass leading the heavy rolling vibe come Laura’s ethereal wails while on ‘You Creep’ they provide soaring uplift to the pit of dark guitars and slithering bass fed by endless cymbal work. Despite an identifying sound, Ex People mix it up well so each track is exciting and fresh, while thankfully not being radically different which adds to the cumulative effect of the crushing atmosphere on show here. Just to be sure, they save that final bit of insanity for the 8 minute closer of ‘Crested’ with bludgeoning drums, massive amounts of bass reverb and Calum’s son-of-Iommi (and Satan) twisting sludge riffola that leaves only a bit of room for Laura’s in the distance vocals to squeeze into the mix. A complete mind melt. Ex People. Remember them cos they play it low n slow.