The good tracks are groovingly good, slow and smoldering as crooner David Hex sets his always deliberate pace. The bad tracks are delectably bad, with a raunchy exuberance that earns a double take.
The first pass might be wondering why anyone would want to record anything like it. On the second, you have to wonder why anybody hasn't recorded anything like it. Because there really isn't anything too much like it, which is why Triple Hex sometimes conjures up comparisons to Tom Watis or Nick Cave.
Triple Hex E.P. pokes at the freakishly dark and deviously exploitive.
After debuting a rockabilly-tinged EP in 2006, Triple Hex has settled into a downward trajectory that has taken them to some pretty dark and sullen places. This stopover is no exception, with a tasty bit of glam grit rock that is as seductive as it is grotesque. But you'd never know it from the first track.
The lead off track Winter is stripped back sex-driven rock, with a vibe that teases as much as it threatens. Opening with Jill McArthur's percussive snare and thump, Hex follows up by overloading his guitar to fill in spaces where a bass might go that aren't already covered by Miss Chip on keys.
The lyrics are primal, a despondent howl about how things wither away in the winter. Hex suggests despite the doom and gloom of it, you might embrace it, taste it. Inexplicably, it's the tamest track.
Winter is followed by Viking Funeral, a meaty rock death ballad about a man who takes pride in his vices more than his virtues. Hex talks him up like a tough customer but then defaces him as a forgettable lout, talking his way through the story with a sarcastic spin to it, tossing in chuckles at the end.
Most the lyrics in Viking Funeral just roll off Hex's tongue but a few stand out so much in his overemphasis, they kind of clunk with forced awkwardness. The same thing happens with Love Song, which is anything but a love song. And Triple Hex has been catching some flack about it.
Any so-called shock serious is loaded up with a dose of sarcasm.
Love Song has some daring to it, but the shockability is tempered by Hex's sometimes pedestrian need to remind everyone that he isn't as serious about the subject as the lyrics suggest — "I don't want a love song, I just wanna fuck." And yet, that might be the point.
Half a dozen hip hop and rap artists have tapped the latter half the lyric line and are called musical geniuses for it. And knowing this really casts a different color on the entire track. The song isn't meant to shock as much as it fronts the middle finger.
The same kind of debauchery busting lands in the lyrics of Deranged too. Hex sucks people into the tune for its uncensored, smoldering sexual overtones and then punishes everyone for being taken in. That Ain't Enough provides the answer to this amusing exploitation of sorts. The joke might be on the audience or at least anyone who doesn't understand it. It's not gratuitous as much as it's a warranted smack down for thinking it might be.
Triple Hex's ability to deliver full post-punk noise comes around thick in the final track. Although my least favorite track, Kill is still a blazer for anyone hoping to find some underground hedonism. It's a hypnotic counterpunch to the opener.
E.P. By Triple Hex Spellbinds At 7.8 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.
Some people make everything Triple Hex takes on all serious and gothic. By that measure, Triple Hex only provides a ride to halfway there. Where E.P. becomes a round-trip winner is only after it is apparent Triple Hex is making fun of anyone who wants to take such a ride. And that makes E.P. worth the listen, front to back, with its crime being a bit haughty while pretending to be reckless.
E.P. by Triple Hex can be downloaded for iTunes. You can also pick up E.P. [Explicit] from Amazon or visit Mon Amie Records for the physical CD direct. Visit their Facebook page for updates on shows after the release party. They always rock live venues.