Album Review by Mark Bayross
Despite the (hopefully intentionally) naff name, Hot Zex is not a funk band from Vegas, but actually a three-piece from Novosibirsk, Russia. That’s Siberia to you and me… And prepare to be confounded again because this is not a selection of icy ambient isolationism, but actually 30 minutes of psychedelic indie rock.
This self-released album (their first proper – the 1995 debut SUGARBABIES was limited to a generous 20 copies!) contains eight tracks of melodic, occasionally keyboard-enhanced jangly space rock and on the guitar-tastic AROUND YOU, singer Volodya Komarov sounds like a dead ringer for Tim Wheeler. What’s more, the drum machine intro of OUTSIDE gives way to so much wah-wahing and shuffling that you’d be forgiven for thinking The Charlatans had got themselves a one-way ticket on the Trans-Siberian Express and were paying their way home.
I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised. A few years ago my entry into Moscow on the overnight sleeper was accompanied by Oasis over the crackly PA system – I’m sure the Russians have been at this indie rock lark for years.
But perhaps what is more surprising is how much this album grows on you. The aforementioned OUTSIDE ends in a haze of swooping effects and Stone Roses wig-out, while songs like SHE COULD MAKE THINGS PERFECT, 40 MILES and 30 MINUTES DELAY combine shimmering production with some effectively tight grooves.
In all – a strong, solid collection of songs, with lots of moments to grab your attention. Investigation is highly recommended.