Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
The best of The Ex's early (pre-"Blueprints") period.
C. Burkhalter | 09/13/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Holland's greatest punk band is sadly overlooked, basically because they're not English or American. The band never ceased churning out vital punk albums. They never went pop, they never got soft, they never became irrelevant. You can't do wrong with ANY of the Ex's albums. This alone puts them ahead of most of the Greatest Punk Bands of All Time. Add to that the fact that their discordant and rhythmic brand of anarcho-punk has become increasingly fierce over time, both lyrically and in terms of sound. The only thing that really changed was an ever-increasing tendency to experiment (though they never indulged in unlistenable free-jazz snooze-fests, and they never turned to canned beats). "Tumult" comes pretty early in the Ex chronology (1983), and its as raw as just about anything. This is percussive aggression to make even Einstürzende Neubauten's ears perk up. Another bonus is Jon Langford's (of Mekons fame) echo-y production. Check out the first two blistering tracks, the bleak "Bouquet of Barbed Wire" and the frantic "Fear," they're incredible. "Happy Thoughts" is another personal favorite. "Tumult"s lyrics are more black-and-white than their later material, but never didactic. As a quote on the Ex's web site states, this is "music of malcontents, rebellion and impotent rage about everything that is wrong in this world," which in the 1980s was a great, great deal (only to be rivaled in punk's lifetime by, well, right now). Topics include labor conflicts, unchecked seal hunting, NATO, political apathy, squatting, the media, etc. "Tumult" is one of the Ex's more straight-ahead punk albums. Similar albums by the Ex include the snarling "Disturbing Domestic Peace" and the quick-and-punchy "History is What's Happening." From this early, pre-"Blueprints for a Blackout" period, I would say "Tumult" is the strongest album. They're all worth the money, and all of them ARE still in print and readily available, both directly from Ex Records and from your better neighborhood record shops. But if you can't find "Tumult" or any of those other early titles, don't lose hope. The universally available Touch-and-Go releases, "Starters Alternators" and "Dizzy Spells," are no less phenomenal - in fact, they're possibly stronger albums. I'm an enormous Ex fan, and if it were up to me you'd buy ALL the Ex's albums, especially if you're a fan of bands like Crass, Gang of Four, Einstürzende Neubauten, Fugazi, Shellac, Godspeed You Black Emperor!, the Mekons, Test Dept., Zounds, Chumbawamba, the Mob, or even Rage Against the Machine. But that aside, "Tumult" is a gem all by itself. If I were forced at gunpoint to whittle things down to five essential Ex albums (unfortunately I don't think I can narrow the field any more than that), "Tumult" would absolutely be one of the five. Check it out."