We Are Hex – Gloom Bloom


We Are Hex - Gloom Bloom

Formerly a duo,  We Are Hex apparently recorded an entire album of songs, none of which will ever see the light of day, mostly down to (says the press release) their lack of sound quality. Lots of bands do this, record demo material that doesn’t make it onto their full official releases, in fact I suddenly remember reading in a guitar magazine that someone has over 200 hours of demos/jams/bootlegs recorded by Jimi Hendrix stored in a bank vault (I’ve no idea as to what they’re worth today, though). The point is, drawing attention to your unreleased material goes some way towards putting your actual released album well onto the spot.

And Gloom Bloom more than deserves its moment of glory. Starting with instrumental “Sea Hound”, a drolly atmospheric mix of lo-fi accordion and plucked guitar that might throw some listeners quite off the neo-gothic scent of We Are Hex. It is, in any event, a very foggy night in Indianapolis. Fortunately, the sharply discordant math rock that forms the basis of the We Are Hex sound swiftly cuts a swathe through the disorienting murk with more than a tinge of glee. That year in the studio was very far from wasted, and “Bottom Of My Belly”, with its incessant drumbeat and sinister xylophone riff, very firmly establishes We Are Hex as innovators who are quite definitely more than the sum of their influences.

This band is definitely most effective when upping the noise factor, though. Some of the slower moments don’t quite catch fire, such as “No Enemies” bouzouki and violin edginess which, while it’s atmospheric enough, has something of a dissatisfying conclusion, perhaps hinting at those less than satisfactory 2007 demo tracks. It’s the bigger, more assuredly thrash numbers that show We Are Hex at their most formidable, and allow Jilly Weiss’s keening pout of a vocal the spatiality her voice requires, while the growling bass and sharply accented drums of Matt Hagen and Brandon Beaver provide Trevor Wathen’s more inventive guitar licks with an energy that lifts the entire sound of the band, and spending a year sweating over a mixing board has very definitely had results here.

Really, there’s very little actual gloom on display here; rarely has sedative-induced depression sounded quite so upbeat. I’m just glad that the quartet didn’t add an acoustic ballad to the 13 songs on Gloom Bloom, which I’m certain they are aware would break their captiviating spells in ways they probably wouldn’t appreciate. We Are Hex, then: too rockist to fit amongst the real geek oddballs and too archly angst-ridden for the skater crowd. As it should be, really.