Last year, the legendary New York City record store Other Music launched a new label in partnership with Fat Possum, and the first act they signed was a low-key indie-rock duo called Ex Cops. Since then, the two-piece has expanded to five and released a debut full-length, True Hallucinations, that is one of the year's early highlights. This month, Shadow Lounge hosts the new lineup for its first show in Pittsburgh.
Founded in 2011 by Brian Harding (formerly of Hymns) and Amalie Bruun (formerly of Minks), Ex Cops takes a familiarly hazy approach to songwriting, but does it well. The band makes concise dream-pop — or maybe it makes dream-pop concise, because it's not a genre particularly known for its urgency. Harding and Bruun may help change that.
True Hallucinations is a "warm" record — a term usually used to politely identify an album's abundance of major chords, lo-fi and reverb. But Ex Cops comes by the title honestly. Harding and Bruun's voices get along famously (somewhat famously), and those strong harmonies provide a lot of the warmth. Add producer John Siket (Sonic Youth, Blonde Redhead, Yo La Tengo) and the scale of the record's sound starts to make sense. Start with "The Millionaire."
With True Hallucinations, Ex Cops joins a genre not lacking for benchwarmers and manage to distinguish itself as the subtle, exciting new talent that it is.