Brian Harding and Amalie Bruun have fairly lengthy Indie Rock genealogies between them — he with Hymns and she with MINKS, among others — but none of their earlier affiliations would have indicated the sonic territory staked out on True Hallucinations, their debut together as Ex Cops.
The Brooklyn-based duo has an affinity for expansive atmospherics, gauzy harmonies and heavy reverb and possess an uncanny knack for fashioning those elements into edgy yet instantly accessible Indie Pop odes that reflect their influences without sounding derivative. True Hallucinations hums with the big-sky Spaghetti Western moodiness that characterizes a lot of Antipodean Rock from the ’80s and ’90s (The Chills, The Clean) while touching on the Dream Pop lilt of Mazzy Star, the visceral New Wave of The Vaselines and the hooky brilliance of Teenage Fanclub. At the same time, there is an Ambient rustle that seems like a nod to Brian Eno, along with a clear love of The Beach Boys’ summer-heat harmonies and the underlying sense of humor and awareness of Pop/Rock history that Fountains of Wayne has made its trademark.
Late last year, Harding and Bruun released their adrenalized, noisy and thoroughly delightful take on Paul McCartney’s gratingly innocuous “Wonderful Christmastime,” then quickly followed that up with the video for “Ken” from True Hallucinations, which was shot as a clear homage to The Replacements’ clip for “Bastards of Young.”
In relatively short order, Ex Cops has become one of New York’s must-see bands as more fans are attracted by the duo’s sugar Pop scent and then blown away and duly converted by the blistering howl of their live translation.
EX COPS perform a free show at MOTR Pub in Over-the-Rhine on Sunday, March 3. Check out performance times and get venue details here.