After a long buildup and a string of excellent pre-album singles, UK indie-pop outfit Ex-Vöid release their debut this week. Featuring members of long-beloved group Joanna Gruesome, who’ve since split members between EV and new labelmates The Tubs, the group offers up one of the most solid UK pop debuts of this (or the last few) years. The group’s ability to hot glue influences together is admirable, to say the least. With a beating heart of indie pop that’s drawn towards breezy harmonies and folk lilt, the band swerved the typical touchstones with a layered vocal approach pinned to a vortex of fuzz and twin leads that knock elbows with contemporaries like Sheer Mag or Ex Hex as often as they might fit in with the janglers conjured up with the indie-pop tag.
The band’s subversion of expectations is key to the success of Bigger Than Before, pushing their songs from quiet corners to ecstatic heights. McArdle and Williams’s vocals meld and diverge with a lovely grace, gliding on the air like Olden Yolk or Veronica Falls one moment, peeling paint like Cable Ties the next. The band folds in a cover of Arthur Russell, an unlikely choice that sees them turn his quiet country into a power pop pounder, but like everything else on Bigger Than Before, it just works. There are few debuts that feel so fully formed and sure of themselves as Ex-Vöid’s, and that’s much to the band’s credit. This one should be top of year-ender lists for sure.