In HEX’s “Runes / Ruins,” cakesmashing is catharsis

What’s a visual metaphor for relationship decay?

For HEX, a trio from Wellington, New Zealand, it’s a saccharine display of gratuitously iced cakes and overdone makeup. Their new single, “Runes / Ruins,” tackles the messier side of romantic bonds with a dazzling music video and smart musicianship.

HEX consists of wives Kiki and GG Van Newtown – the co-founders and frontwomen – and drummer Jason Erskine. While HEX hasn’t put out an album yet, “Runes / Ruins” is cause enough to be excited about their impending debut.

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“Runes / Ruins” finds a niche somewhere between punk and folk, with distinct melancholic indie edge. It starts with two flat, disinterested guitars which contrast with Kiki and Van Newtown’s vocals, which dance on top of the whole affair with a snide confidence. As they riff on “You and me are not meant to be friends,” you know they’ll be over it far before you will.

That isn’t to say that the song is a straight breakup number. It’s not. It follows a cathartic progression from honeymooning to decay to denial to decisive end. Our vocalists sing about lust and infatuation evolving into spite.

Directed by Kiki herself, the video reflects this in, ah, baked goods. Cooking them, decorating them, smashing them. The cakes are impossibly saccharine, covered in sickening degrees of icing and marshmallows from a kawaii nightmare. Like honeymooning a doomed relationship, it’s sweet at the start and self-destructive after too long.

I don’t want to get too stuck in the melancholy, though. “Runes / Ruins” is, musically, an up-on-your-feet dancefloor tune. Like many of HEX’s songs, this owes to great songwriting and visceral, dynamic drumming. Erskine’s beats aren’t content to sit in the background and merely keep time – he’s directly involved in creating the atmosphere of “Runes / Ruins,” and his talent for adding texture adds strength to HEX’s lineup.

Check “Runes / Ruins” out below and make sure to stay tuned for their first LP! Want more, like, now!? Here’s their bandcamp.

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