Reviews Ex Friends Rules for Making Up Words

Ex Friends

Rules for Making Up Words

Ex Friends are a group of Philly area punks, recognized from their work in other bands. The band features Joel Tannenbaum (Plow United), JP Flexner (flyer artist), Audrey Crash, and Jayme Guokas. On their debut full-length, Rules for Making Up Words, they don’t let those previous associations get in the way, though; they embrace them. The project sounds like the sum of its parts, with Tannenbaum’s vocals and familiar lyricism leading the charge.

Tannenbaum carries the largest stamp on Ex Friends, with the direct lyricism and his familiar voice and delivery. It’s very similar to Plow United except, you got it, for the music, which is more varied than his pop punk band’s structures tend to be. There’s a lot of stylistic variation on Making Up Words, all with a steady backdrop of Plow United-style 4/4 pop punk but with different chord variations and influence that carries the general sway of the songs. In “The Middle of Nowhere” they push the bass up front and in “Rainy Season” they slow it down (a touch) to where the melodies remind of Nato Coles midtempo melodicism focus. Overall, though, it’s caffeinated and opinionated. The vocal tradeoffs work really well.

The lyrics steal the show with this record, taking a repetitive chorus structure and direct lyrics about issues like sexism, police brutality, consumerism, and a whole lot more. It’s preach to the choir punk that gets jingoistic, for example in one of the catchiest songs on the record, “Sympathy for the Sociopath,” which bears the blunt refrain of “cops crack skulls/ cops crack skulls.” It’s the kind of punk record that uses words like “capitalism” and “bourgeoisie” mid-song without caring how heavy-handed it may come across. It’s really solid singalong punk, but it’s also overly preachy and loses some of the fun that the bouncy rhythms establish. While I like a healthy dose of politics in my music (more than the average listener I’m pretty sure), I also prefer a little less finger wagging.

Anyway, Ex Friends has released a fun record here. It just gets a wears a little bit over the course of 14 songs.

7.1 / 10Loren
VEGAS - Not Ever banner
Leave a comment

7.1 / 10

7.1 / 10

Share this content
Related features

One Question Interviews Plow United

Posted Jan. 24, 2015, 12:58 a.m.

Joel Tannenbaum (Plow United, The Rentiers, Ex Friends) SPB: As a musician, do you find terminology such as “side project” to be relevant to you ...

KFAI - Root Of All Evil
Recent reviews

Broadway Calls

Meet Me On The Moon

8.0 / 10 Broadway Calls - Meet Me On The Moon album cover
200 Words Or Less

Meet Me On The Moon is a teaser single for the new LP, Sad In The City, which also happens to be Broadway Calls’ first new full-length in almost a decade (which ...

Mutant Reavers

Monster Punk

6.0 / 10 Mutant Reavers - Monster Punk album cover

Back in the late nineties I started listening to horrropunk. To this day it is one of my favourite scenes. Back in the day I listened to basically everything I ...

Kissed by an Animal

Kissed by an Animal

4.0 / 10 Kissed by an Animal - Kissed by an Animal album cover

Kissed by an Animal is getting the vinyl treatment a year after release of their self title album from 2019. To describe these guys, well it’s hard to nail down ...

Related news

Bands 1QI: Ampere, Plow United, Recreant, United Teachers of Music

Posted Jan. 24, 2015, 9:39 a.m.

Welcome to our almost daily quickie Q&A feature: One Question Interviews. Follow us at facebook or twitter and we'll post one interview every Monday-Thursday. Okay, sometimes we miss ...

Music News Joel Tannenbaum writes piece on music copyrights

Posted June 29, 2014, 9:49 a.m.

Joel Tannenbaum of Plow United and Ex Friends has published a lengthy and detailed piece explaining copyright law and how it benefits musicians here. The article examines and explains various ...

Labels New Beach Slang this fall on Tiny Engines

Posted June 25, 2014, 8:37 p.m.

Philadelphia's Beach Slang haev announced a new record this fall on new label Tiny Engines.  The band, including members James Snyder (Weston), JP Flexner (Ex-Friends), and Ed McNulty (Crybaby ...



Looking for the SPB logo? You can download it in a range of styles and colours here:

Click anywhere outside this dialog to close it, or press escape.