The new record from Australia's EXEK, Ahead of Two Thoughts, out Friday on the superb Superior Viaduct label, is the sort of thing in dreadfully short supply these days. Reminiscent of challenging earlier releases from acts like Crime and the City Solution, Public Image, and In Camera, the album is full of sharp edges and surprising bits of beauty. Brutal and yet oddly lovely in spots, Ahead of Two Thoughts is the sort of post-punk that 2018 desperately needs more of. Read on!
How to describe a band with such a sound? I suppose I could say that "Elevator Etiquette" slinks like something leftover from Unknown Pleasures, the guitars and bass charting out a veritable path to Hell? Or I could explain how "U Mop" echoes both early P.i.L. and Pere Ubu with some measures of abrasive success? EXEK here are pursuing a very unique muse, and the result is that their music sounds utterly unlike anything else one can find in contemporary indie-pop in 2018, hence the dated comparison points. Elsewhere, "Prawn Watching" traces an angular form of angst, while the near-catchy "Punishment" positively purrs in spots, nods in the direction of Simon Bonney stuff abounding. The players here -- Albert Wolski on guitar and vocals, with Andrew Brocchi on synthesizer, Henry Wilson on bass, Sam Dixon on the drums, and Nell Grant on saxophone -- have a real rapport and the resulting music sounds natural, unearthly, and a bit eerie, but always unforced in its refinement of earlier bits from the band's obvious inspiration points. That said, Ahead of Two Thoughts seems fresh and focused, a brutally uncompromising updating of all the best bits from the geniuses of post-punk.
[Photo: Uncredited pic from the band's Facebook page]