Ex Friends - Twisted Around [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Ex Friends

Twisted Around [7-inch] (2013)

Yo-Yo Records

The biggest takeaway from Twisted Around, the second 7-inch from Pennsylvania punks Ex Friends, is that this band have gotten tremendously more confident in the studio. Debut No Wonder We Prefer the Dark boasted a trove of hooks and a loose way with playing, giving the tunes a certain ramshackle charm. Twisted Around find the band clicking more. While this is still a fairly raw sounding melodic punk band, there's admittedly some more polish this time around, to everyone's benefit.

"Punk Rock Wedding Punk Rock Divorce" makes this transition clear, with a fuller sound that boasts all types of guitar flourishes and vocal lines. A peppy tune about ideals turning sour, "Punk Rock Wedding" is very much in the vein of Ex Friends' other social observations. "Rainy Season," meanwhile, tries to find some sort of silver lining ("Don't let that empty feeling get you down / Don't let that silence in the kitchen get your head twisted around").

The B-side crams in three tracks, although "Vexed Question" is so short–despite a guitar solo!–that I sometimes forget it's even here. "Model Minority" brings the pop punk hard, while a reinterpretation of "West Chester Nuclear Winter" by Plow United (Joel Tannenbaum's other band) proves that this band's grit suits Tannebaum's songwriting quite well.

Counting the digital bonus material from No Wonder, Ex Friends have dropped a solid 10 tracks over the last year or so, which makes one wonder if and when a full-length will appear. With Plow United due for a new record this year though, it might be a while before we hear another, longer installment from Ex Friends.