Dance to the Underground
Hexes for Exes
(Out October 9)
It’s true that dance-oriented post-punk bands are about as ubiquitous as the ipods attached to the ears of the skinny jean-clad hipsters buying their albums, but Moving Units–the LA-based new wave outfit that helped catapult this uber-popular sound from the underground–exhibit a much-needed sumptuous soulfulness that is missing from most of their more vapid and stiff contemporaries. On their sophomore album Hexes for Exes, Moving Units, who have drawn comparisons to the Faint and Gang of Four, stay away from the grating beats and austere vocals that have come to define the ever-expanding genre. Instead this foursome, who have been making frenetic dance-inducing post-punk since 2001, inject their own brand of modernism with slinky synth chords, swaggering bass and percussion that relies on the retro precision of drum machines as well as funky disco-inspired slithering high hat.
Hexes for Exes is a versatile effort that finds Moving Units experimenting with a darker, more dangerous sound that at times recalls the gothic sensibility of the Faint’s Danse Macabre. This sinister edge can be heard on the brooding “Kids From Orange County,” which is a scathing critique of suburban consumerism and the dumbing-down of American culture, as well as the melodic “Hearts Departed,” a delicate dirge mourning a failed affair. When Moving Units aren’t channeling the dark side on Hexes for Exes this trio successfully conjures the sonic spirit of the original synth-pop powerhouse New Order with songs like “Dark Walls” and “Paper Hearts” that, with dissonant underwater-sounding guitars and droning keyboards, provides a less intense counterpoint to the more shadowy tracks. Come hear songs off of Hexes for Exes live when Moving Units play Popscene on Thursday, October 11. Come prepared to dance and romance.