The Ex formed in 1979 and first tried to build a name for themselves through ‘graffiti advertising’. It wasn’t until 1980 that they made their first recordings. In that same year they released three albums, the EP All Corpses Smell The Same, a flexidisc entitled New Horizons In Retailing, and their debut album: Disturbing Domestic Peace.
One of the things that makes their debut stand out so much, is its iconic cover. It perfectly reflects the restless urban dawn of a new decennium, characterized by confrontations between squatters and Dutch riot control units (ME). In those days, violent evictions regularly make the news.
The Ex sympathizes with the squatting community and with their grainy, stubborn Squatsong, injected with corny electronic noise, they turn our attention to the Dutch housing problem. The thin, scratching punk that is Warning-Shot is about police brutality. And then there’s A Sense Of Tumour, something else all together, a song in which the Ex tells us about a factory that makes you ill, without a doubt referring to the dwindling success of a paper factory in the Dutch Wormer region. What sparked their interest here is that in addition to paper, this factory produced asbestos felt.
In terms of music, Disturbing Domestic Peace is quite rudimentary. It was in 1980 that The Ex took their first steps in song-writing and made their first record recordings. This is clearly reflected in their straight-forward, bare music that corresponds so well with Sok’s fierce and unpolished vocals. Great punk music confronts, scours, and disrupts and with this album The Ex shows us how it’s done. Disturbing Domestic Peace is a powerful statement.
The first song on Disturbing Domestic Peace, The Sky Is Blue Again, has a rather misguiding title, given its scratching guitars and penetrating morse code sounds. Map emphasises Terrie’s clever guitar parts; rhythmically convincing. Terrie really manages to add a tight, serrated edge to the songs.
With electronics the Ex adds wonderful accents and variation to their no-nonsense music. Sucking Pig is lifted up by a second voice, while Meanwhile is far slower and a track that is quite different from the others. It is about sexual harassment and builds on a growling bass, a song that lasts almost four minutes. And then there are the volleys of shots fired and marching rhythms that typify the grim final that is New Wars.
Disturbing Domestic Peace was released in november 1980, in Amigos, Wim Dekker’s record shop (Minny Pops) in Haarlem. The album includes the live single Live-Skive.
In 1980 The Ex performed live almost fifty times and in 1982 the band continued to play live shows as often as possible, with their debut album under their belts. It was in this live period that they firmly established their name, both in the Netherlands and abroad. The Ex are here to stay.