Like deconstructionist abstract artists
who first learn their craft before disassembling it, Ex Models have
followed a career arch that began with the danceable no waver Other
Mathematics in 2001, slightly devolved to the more dissonant
but still rhythm-accessible Zoo Psychology in 2003, before
arriving at the almost complete disregard for traditional song structure
heard on Chrome Panthers, released in September on Troubleman
Ex Models frontman Shahin Motia agrees with the artist analogy.
He knows that fans of the first record might blanch at the new one.
"I can remember being a fan of a band and having to put up
with that kind of shit," he said. "It's fine to like our
first record and not be a fan of this one."
Motia also knows that songs like the assaulting, jittery "That's
Funny, I Don't Feel Like a Shithead," with its jack-hammer
rhythms and tension-headache guitar attack, take a special kind
of listener to appreciate. "It's an exercise in repetition
of a riff which turns into a mantra," he said. "It changes
subtly over five minutes until you suddenly realize that the ground
is falling out beneath your feet."
The deconstruction also applies to the band itself. Originally
a four-piece, Ex Models has paired down to just Shahin and fellow
guitarist Zaxh, with Oneida's Kid Millions adding drums and loops
to the new record. The band has been touring as a two-piece since
"Our live show isn't as chaotic as the record. It's much more
about volume and sound, and brings out the industrial side of the
songs, whereas the record brings out the psychedelic side,"
Motia said. "There's a certain kind of animal that gets into
noise. Our live show really brings out the noise of our music."
Published in The Omaha Reader Oct. 26, 2005.
Copyright © 2005 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.