Modey Lemon - Season of Sweets
If I had to give a quick description of Modey Lemon's sound I'd say it was 'intelligent garage rock'. The classic garage rock sound is there: fuzzed up guitars, slick riffs, thrashed out drums and the assumption that a few non-prescription drugs were involved, but still the sound has a bunch of elements and ideas that root it firmly in these post post-rock times. Apparently the band began as a two piece of guitar/keys and drums and was later augmented by a third member on bass, keys and guitars, and from what I remember of seeing them once five years ago they have a big rig of keyboards and effects. It has been three years since the last album and a fairly unsuccessful trawl of Google for interviews (I wanted a bit more than the press release told me) pulled up guitarist Phil Boyd saying he'd like to start a rumour about the band that they were still going and hadn't broken up. Three years is a long time if you're not as big as Radiohead and luckily this is a good, though not amazing, record.
The album opens with The Bear Comes Back Down the MTN, a lush Liars-apeing piece with guitar feedback and analogue keyboard noise drifting over tribal drums and then the guitars follow the vocal melody around when it comes in; track two is more upbeat and more obviously in a psychadelic rock'n'roll moment but the terrific nature of the drums keeps it fresh sounding. At track four, Sacred place we get a change of gears into a song based around a fat keyboard bass and sparse drums drenched in delay that sounds tense and brooding.
Track five is called Become a Monk and it's every bit as good as its title. On my first run through the album this was the only song that really lept out and had me wanting to stick it on again. Sure, It Made You Dumb has a memorable chorus but the melody isn't quite up there with this growling fuzz bass monster: even when Become a Monk is simple there's still something clever going on to grab your attention. Yup, it's a good'un. The second half of the album is a strange mix of some very long tracks and a couple of nice snappy catchy numbers, where special mention should go for Milk Moustache for cramming in a percussion solo as well as a fuzzy guitar one inside three minutes.
I'll just make a few comments about production: I don't particularly like it. It's not terrible it's just not my style. The guitars and keyboards sound incredible, big and full but the drums often feel a bit lost or lacking in the mix and this is annoying because they're really REALLY good: If you're a drummer or a fan of drummers then you'll get a lot more out of this album. Like I say, it's not bad just wasn't as good as I would have liked. So as I said, this isn't an amazing album. On first listen it doesn't draw you in but is is a grower and if you're a fan of the Modey Lemon or the last Liars album you should really enjoy what they're doing here.
Modey Lemon are touring the UK in September.
Last updated: 27/05/2018 10:08:15