Ibex Clone All Channels Clear LP

Back in 2019, a handful of Memphis musicians (folks from NOTS and EX-CULT) put out an LP under the name HASH REDACTOR. The music they played was part wry post-punk, part brash noise rock, part swampy garage punk, and 100% my shit—easily one of the best records of the year. Alas, like most good things, HASH REDACTOR wasn’t made to last. About a year into the pandemic, they announced they were ramping down operations. But they also offered a silver lining: three quarters of the band would continue on as a new project, IBEX CLONE. So, when Goner announced this debut LP two-ish years later, I was stoked. Now, I don’t know what I was expecting from this outfit, but I did not foresee a pivot to adult-oriented jangly guitar rock. It’s gotten me all out of sorts. I’ve listened to this album countless times at this point, ready for it to click, but it just hasn’t. It’s certainly no fault of the production. This thing is sonically incredible, probably the best a guitar will sound on record all year! But the songwriting is leaving me cold. The label copy calls this “post-pop,” a term I’ve never heard before but instinctively want to say is inaccurate (for context, the band that popped in my mind was HOME BLITZ)—there’s just not enough pop here. They also mention XTC and GUIDED BY VOICES, which, yes, absolutely. If anything, I’m tempted to call this post-slacker rock, as it’s clearly indebted to the latter act while featuring enough of the former’s intricacies and proggy-ness to leave no doubt these songs weren’t just casually tossed off. But therein lies the problem. This is decidedly uncool music. It’s music for grownups—stuff that needs to be actively appreciated rather than passively enjoyed. And, look, that’s fine, it’s just not what I’m looking for in my punk records. I’m looking for drecksounds.