Twisted Around

Ex Friends

Yo Yo Records, 2013

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


Bringing more punk rock greatness from a city with seemingly endless bands of this ilk, Philadelphia's Ex Friends features Joel Tannenbaum (of the legendary Plow United fame) who holds down chief songwriting and singing duties. On sophomore EP Twisted Around, he's rounded out by local punk celebrities and former members of Myles Of Destruction and Weston.

Though the band plays a gritty, earlier version of pop punk, Tannenbaum's vocals are what we're used to from post-hardcore bands. It's raw, gravely, and sounds like he's been smoking menthols since grade school. In short, it's ideally gruff for a genre that has always encouraged anyone to pick up a guitar or belt into a mic regardless of how accessible their sound may or may not be. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

“Punk Rock Wedding, Punk Rock Divorce” leads off and right away we're immediately tipped off by subject matter and sound that we aren't dealing with young punk kids. Tannebaum starts off the song with a long sneer before the quick paced, folky punk song gets into high gear with Audrey Crash's backup vocals punctuating the memorable chorus. “Rainy Season” is a bit tamer, but still has moments of manic drumming and nice guitar work in between the less throaty singing. “Vexed Question” brings Crash's vocals back into the question for a fleeting, charged punk rock anthem. “Model Minority” is the longest track here (but still falls under two minutes) and one of the best of the bunch. Fast guitars, rapid-fire drumming, and an overall gritty, melodic sense will keep your head bobbin' and toe tappin'. The EP closes with “West Chester Nuclear Winter,” a Plow United cover. Since Tannebaum doesn't sing the original, the song here takes on a new dimension with the female backing vocals. While musically it's pretty similar to the original, vocally it's a less strained, more tuneful version.

A band that reminds you of the sweaty basement shows of yesteryear, Ex Friends is one of those groups that kids with multicolored hair, heavily pierced faces, and questionable tattoos will worship; but they also make music that is enjoyable for anyone interested in pop punk that's rough around the edges. The digital version of this EP has four songs, while the limited vinyl version has an extra track. That means you should pick up the vinyl copy.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2013 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Yo Yo Records, and is used for informational purposes only.