Under Review

Hexes & Ohs

Bedroom Madness

Noise Factory Records

Review By Rose Eckert-Jontzie

Currently touring across Canada, this Montreal electro-pop duo has ten years of couplehood under their belt, both romantic and musical. For the most part, Bedroom Madness, their second full-length album, reflects this bond.

“H-H-Highschool” is a perfect album opener, bringing energy and succinct electro-pop rhythms. It is masterfully mixed with shouts and electric bass. The electric banjo on “Little Birds” is a terrific departure from the standard synth, and “In High Places” would make an ideal choice for a second single. Unfortunately, many other songs neglect this sense of enthusiasm, whimsy and sheer energy, as Hexes & Ohs have taken the electronica they employed with great success on their 2005 single “Whaddaya Know?” and focused on it to the detriment of musical variety. In several songs guitars are employed just enough to reengage and reinforce the fact that Edmund Lam and Heidi Donnelly are talented musicians, but overall, synthesizer blips carry every track, with vocals that have been auto-tuned and refined until only Donnelly sounds distinct. Lead singer Lam often sounds very similar to Ben Gibbard; not untalented by any stretch, but lacking his own identity. The lyrics on Bedroom Madness are solid, and the music is polished and catchy, but the two don’t fit together, and as the album progresses it begins to seem like too much of the same thing. This is not to say that the album is without high points. Overall it showcases some very real talent, with many enjoyable songs, but veers too much between above-average and boring in-between.