Ex Models

If you can imagine being straitjacketed and locked for a few days in a tiny white room illuminated by the harshest of fluorescent lighting while being deprived of your schizophrenia medication, then you're on your way to understanding the Ex Models' second album, Zoo Psychology.

Like the Jesus Lizard but sans any semblance of melody, the Brooklyn post-punk/no-wave quartet offers fifteen cuts in twenty minutes, each of them panicked, jerky, dissonant rhythm explosions. Frantic doesn't even begin to describe the songs as jagged, abrasive guitars dart and slice like the sharpest, scariest knife sold on the Home Shopping Network at two in the morning. It would be almost unthinkable for anyone to heed the title of opener "Fuck to the Music" without risking severe, permanent injury to his or her private parts. Four songs in, "Sex Automata" introduces some mechanical tension into the equation -- as if the mood wasn't already one of complete mental breakdown -- and it carries through the rest of the album.

You can definitely hear Devo's Mark Mothersbaugh in singer-guitarist siblings Shahin and Shahyar Motia's high-pitched stutters, though their shrieks and yelps also bring to mind Guy Picciotto and Ian MacKaye of Fugazi's manic call-and-response. Drummer Jake Fiedler and bassist Zach Lehrhoff get an equal chance to shine, especially on the Lizard-like "What Is a Price," proving the Ex Models would be lost without their spazzy, shift-on-a-dime precision. Zoo Psychology won't be everyone's cup of atonal tea, but if you're open to this sort of glorious, potentially seizure-inducing noise-rock, then by all means indulge.

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Michael Alan Goldberg