Hexes for Exes, the sophomore album from Los Angeles’s Moving Units (Dangerous Dreams was released in 2004), is a continuation of inspired music created for what the band calls “an uninspired music scene.” Opener “Pink Thoughts” is a dim burner that holds a strong drumbeat over synths, quirky guitars, and dreary vocals about lost loves and loneliness. The ten tracks that follow use nearly this same technique and structure; tight-lipped, bass-heavy romps that eventually lose their bang and grow oppressive. This offers the band a lot of space to try new things, but that rarely happens on Hexes for Exes.
“Wrong Again,” the catchiest of the bunch, separates itself from a cloud of clichés and predictable songs. Singer/songwriter Blake Miller sings, “I needed, I wanted, I got it, I lost it/ Somewhere, somehow/ I loved it, I touched it, I tried to adjust it/ But something goes wrong/ Wrong again, wrong again/ I’m always wrong again.” It was enough to reel me in for a closer listen. “Hearts Departed” reflects the band members’ desire to simplify things, and it lets out the album’s second and final respite. More important than that, it shows that less is more when it comes to Moving Units; this is an ethereal and eerily pretty song about saying goodbye — and it’s the band’s best yet. It breathes new life into dance rock and gives hope for an otherwise ordinary band.