Ex Cops, Reviewed at Local 506
It’s a lazy Sunday on Franklin Street that is oddly quiet, taken up with an impressive reverent silence only interrupted by the occasional abrupt call across the street or light trickles of conversation from patios and passers-by.
But in the Local 506, there’s a different kind of space entirely. A sleek, sonorous bubble of indie pop holds a night together. Brooklyn’s Ex Cops is taking a stroll through their setlist. The crowd is small — you could call it sparse or just intimate — but their smooth heady sound doesn’t need the energy of a massive audience to make it an experience.
Anyway the show is just a stop, a tangent from their ongoing tour, scheduled to give family members in the area a chance to hear them, so the feel is already that of a casual, extra performance.
And in spite of popping mics and an underwhelming crowd of relatives and locals, the eerie vamping strum of their smooth rhythm and the earnestly bright, compact vocal harmonies are still enough to draw you out of the street and into the bubble.
Inside the bubble you’re enveloped in the lulling space dream of the music, and you sink in with the cryptic, minimal lyrics and carefully distorted guitar. Weighted down with reverb, you’re full but not bloated — you’ve just finished a perfectly portioned, wholesome meal, but then you slide along with it as the guitar picks up and the tentative synthesizer melody trips and swoops out from the base of the tall, structured harmonies and you know someone must have slipped something in your drink along the way.
Leads Brian Harding and Amalie Bruun are the lanky, broad-shouldered core of the band, driving the harmonies and conducting the show with their off-handed, effortless urban feel, as if they’ve just stepped out of a Brooklyn coffee shop, café americanos in hand, crossing the street to the Local 506 dutifully but ever-so-slightly begrudgingly. The poppy, upbeat other three behind them, on bass, guitar, and drums, build the momentum and piece together on their own the sonic backdrop for the duo in front, who take charge, tie the aesthetic bundle together, and steer the sound onward to the listener.
Their first full-length album True Hallucinations is available for sale in various places online, and work on the second album will begin soon. The Ex Cops have been playing together since 2011, and their guitars have been repeatedly called “jangly” ever since. Catch similar bands at the Local 506 on West Franklin all summer.