By Dana Giusti
True Hallucinations, the debut album from Ex Cops, pulls off the admirable feat of being charmingly accessible without sounding dumbed down. Band members Brian Harding (formerly of Hymns) and Amalie Bruun (formerly of Minks) create an effortlessly wistful vibe that never veers into the saccharine. The harmonies, soft vocal style and dreamlike melodies give the impression the Brooklyn-based band longed to be somewhere warmer during recording. While most of the songs sustain a reverie-like quality, some, like “Billy Pressly”, offer a surprisingly energetic presence. Memories of bands—The Pixies, The Anniversary, The Flaming Lips—flashed through my mind as I listened. The album is a flirtatious 31 minutes; the longest track, “Broken Chinese Chairz”, is one second shy of the four minute mark. True Hallucinations is the rare album you can put on confidently, knowing it will be enjoyed by all.
Ex Cops will be performing with Leagues and Goodnight Lights at MilkBoy Philadelphia on Friday, February 22nd. I conducted a short Q & A with Ex Cops’s Brian Harding:
TM: “True Hallucinations” is the title of a book by Terrance McKenna. Who came up with the idea to name the album after it?
BH: I had been reading about him for a while and found that book inevitably. I fell in love with the title.
TM: Ex Cops is a fairly new band, but you’ve already achieved impressive recognition. What has been the highlight of this experience so far?
BH: Seeing the record blown up in the Other Music store window was exciting for us.
TM: The video for “Ken” paid homage to The Replacements; what was the inspiration behind the video for “Separator”?
BH: I’m not paying homage to anyone in that video. We just wanted to show beautiful images of BMX riders and the isolation you can feel in a bar.
TM: Brian, you write most of the lyrics. What inspires you?
BH: I never know how to answer this. So maybe we can keep it that way.
TM: What three albums are you listening to right now?
BH: Beck – Mutations; Joni Mitchell – Blue; Can – Delay 1968