Moving Units

Hexes for Exes

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The nearly four-year gap between Moving Units' 2003 debut Dangerous Dreams and its follow-up Hexes for Exes is likely due at least in part to the collapse of the group's former label, Palm Pictures. Ironically, the long enforced layoff probably did the Los Angeles-based new wave revivalists a world of good, because had Hexes for Exes come out in, say, 2005, it would have gotten absolutely buried in the onslaught of similar-sounding releases by the Killers, Franz Ferdinand, the Bravery, Hot Hot Heat, and all those bands (most of them already forgotten) who sounded like them. But by 2007, that sound is already sufficiently out of fashion that there's a certain retro kick to the bass-led synth-dance rock of Hexes for Exes. It's like the musical equivalent to that moment where a piece of once-trendy clothing goes from being merely outdated to being puckishly ironic. But the fizzy lightweight charms of this pleasant album don't stand up for more than a couple of nostalgic listens: the plain truth is that Moving Units simply lack the imagination and/or luck to create those one or two indelible four-minute singles like the Killers' "Mr. Brightside" or the Bravery's "An Honest Mistake" that lifted those bands, however briefly, above the fray. Hexes for Exes is certainly inoffensive, but it's not particularly memorable, either. Only "Wrong Again" truly captures the ear, thanks in large part to a chorus that's naggingly close in melody to some forgotten old pop hit from the past. Otherwise, this is merely competent but uninspired dance-rock.

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