steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Hot Zex

"Album" Cassette


Genres: indie pop, indie rock, space rock

Vladimir Komarov
Shetinkina 23-19

Aug 7 - Aug 11 2002

Indie pop songs from Russia - on cassette! Mailed to me in a particularly bizarre package, as well; the cassette was placed in a piece of paper that was wrapped in more paper and tied together by a string, all to create one big, fat, juicy parcel. Billed as "7 lovesongs and a track about daily routine of an airport", these are surprisingly cleanly recorded tunes that are, somewhat disappointingly, sung in English. From a North American standpoint, these songs only feel slightly foreign and unfamiliar, which means that you will appreciate the fact that you aren't left completely in the dark, but you may be left wanting something a bit more unique. In many ways, these songs are familiar to some of the Crunchy Frog label's roster (from Denmark), notably Learning From Las Vegas, THAU, and The Mopeds. Fans of these and other similar bands will probably find Hot Zex's eight tracks appealing.

While the band's name may make you cringe in disgust (or guffaw in simple amusement), the music actually has a surprisingly serious tone to it. "She Could Make Things Perfect", for example, is a straightforward love song with songwriting that's kind of like what Guided By Voices would have sounded like had Tom Pollard grown up on a steady diet of prog rock. "Planets (version II)", meanwhile, is a space rock song with a great melody. You'll be hooked after one listen.

Altogether, Album is a very nice selection of indie pop tunes that will appeal to North Americans and Europeans alike. And that's not to mention Africans, Australians, Asians, South Americans, Central Americans, Oceanians, and even Antarcticans! My only problem is how the songs are split - there are four tracks on each side of the tape, which leaves more silence than music on each half! Perhaps the band should consider shorter cassettes? Otherwise, this is a fine tape.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 8 tracks; distributed by the band; released 2001]