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[Off The Record]
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eX-Girl
BACK TO THE MONO KERO
(IPECAC)

Known for their plastic and wire-suspended outer-space dresses and iridescent instruments, the Japanese pop trio eX-Girl look like some sort of futuristic experiment gone awry. And that’s a pretty accurate description of the eX-Girl sound. Back to the Mono Kero, the band’s US debut, serves up a psychedelic mix of guitar-infused synthesizer pop seasoned with careful harmonies and even opera singing. The album opens with the vibrant (albeit nonsensical) " Waving Scientist @ Frog King, " a track that, showcasing the ladies’ broad vocal abilities, ranges from diligently harmonized a cappella to operatic interludes to Cibo Matto–esque belting. Elsewhere, eX-Girl employ captivating loops and other intriguing digital embellishments.

The disc’s defining track is a cover of one-hit-wonder Robin Scott’s 1979 classic " Pop Musik, " where they demonstrate what would have happened if the song’s mechanical female back-up singers had taken over. The synthesized din can seem gimmicky and overdone — " Wipe Out #3 " pushes experimental dissonance far beyond charming and into the realm of aggravating. But even the flaws on this album reflect ex-Girl’s commendable commitment to innovation.

BY ERIN JUDGE

Issue Date: August 30 - September 6, 2001