Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Separator” by Ex Cops from the 2013 album True Hallucinations on Other Music.
Powered by swirling, elliptical guitar and glacé boy-girl harmonies, Brooklyn’s Ex Cops execute their strong pop songcraft with hazy splendor. Drawing from the same melodic fog that epitomized 4AD’s ’80s output and the twee harmonies of Sarah Records’ catalog, Ex Cops was formed by former Hymns member Brian Harding in 2011, first expanding the project to include his housemate Dan Shapiro, and later bringing in three more members, including co-lead vocalist Amalie Bruun. Their debut album, this year’s True Hallicinations, features the aformentioned sonic hallmarks, but at its core is a set of classically crafted songs, many of which feature I-IV-V-I progressions and undeniable choruses. Although “Separator” is one of the more texturally-based tracks on the record, its directness remains intact. Jangling guitars, sunny-yet-melancholy harmonies and Bruun and Harding’s vocal interplay drives the song through it’s sub-three minute runtime, resulting in a pop gem that sits nicely alongside some of the similarly hazy confections produced by The Pains of Being Pure At Heart or Wild Nothing. “Separator”, like it’s barely thirty minute parent album, doesn’t spend much time introducing itself, but as it progresses through its expertly-crafted parts, it’s clear that Ex Cops aren’t simply aping a few common tropes in modern indie rock: they’re lifers who have been studying up on these things for quite a while, and “Separator”‘s smooth run proves it.
Ex Cops are currently off the road, but if they announce any more tour dates or releases, those updates will come via their website and Facebook. Below, watch the band play “Separator” live at KEXP earlier this year.