‘Woe’ by Ex Libras (EP)

Ex Libras

Woe seems not to be the beginning of the end for Ex Libras, but the end of the beginning

Strap yourself in for a collection of soaring rock that’ll have post-rock kids cooing as much as their post-hardcore buddies

WOEIt’s been five years in the making – after a hiatus that lasted half a decade – but the ambient alt-rock trio Ex Libras show that their break from releasing music was time well spent, on their graceful four-track EP.

You wouldn’t think so after opening with a gritty bass and crunching guitar that sounds like a mix between Tool’s alt-metal and Quicksand’s post-hardcore. That, though, is just the beginning. Morphing into a faithful take on the post-rock subtlety of Explosions In The Sky, the EP’s title track is a mix of Ex Libras’ two states: aggression and contemplation. Leap Of Faith finds something of a middle ground with its Autolux-esque dreaminess, even managing to draw in twinkling pianos that recall Muse at their least bloated. Elsewhere, Drive has some truly gorgeous guitar work and displays the influence of Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s dramatic grandiosity, while closer Underachiever suggests that Ex Libras have it in them to write a ballad, with a piano melody from Moby’s canon leading into a wonderful wash of distortion.

Time can be unkind, just ask the legions of bands who’ve sullied their past reputation by returning from a hiatus and released music that kicks them off the lofty perch past excellence has afforded them. However, Woe seems not to be the beginning of the end for Ex Libras, but the end of the beginning. After half a decade spent readying themselves for this release, the trio have come back with four tracks of graceful ambient rock that will please fans of post-rock, as much as it will followers of alt-rock.

Verdict: Elegant alt-rock that’s more than worth its wait

Damien Girling

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