Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The Ex

  • Turn [Touch and Go, 2004] Choice Cuts
  • 27 Passports [Ex, 2018] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Turn [Touch and Go, 2004]
"In the Event," "Listen to the Painters" Choice Cuts

27 Passports [Ex, 2018]
Compared at various junctures to both the Crass and Einstürzende Neubauten, these vintage-1979 quasi-anarchist Dutch Anglophones have released dozens of albums I've never heard, so to compensate I power-streamed their 2009 30 compilation and concluded that while industrial and "world" sonics do both emerge, the band's enduring fondness for the strummed drone evokes nothing as much as the Fall without Mark E. Smith--that is, a Fall who aren't the Fall at all. I also concluded that Arnold de Boer's leads on his first true album rail and nag more irksomely than the raggedier ones of 30-year-man G.W. Sok used to, and that I prefer this unrelenting hour of protest music to any I could assemble from their best-of. Launched by flag-wavers where cities that modernize together drown together and the rod demolishes every human body part except the heart, they proceed through a car crash that isn't the car's fault, a hard drive sunk in the sea, words without referents, time out of mind, change pursuing its own logic, the feces of the rich, and four billion tulip bulbs. Am I claiming these songs make more sense taken together? To the extent that anything does, yes. A-