Since the release of their first record in 2002, the music of Pittsburgh’s Modey Lemon has often been called “swamp blues” or “gutter punk.” And for good reason: The band’s sound was dominated by jagged guitar work, massive junkyard drumming and random shards of electronic blasts. Those elements remain on The Curious City, Modey Lemon’s third album, but there is now a much greater emphasis on the songs rather than the sound. The result is the band’s most engaging work yet.
Influences – musical (Suicide, Led Zeppelin, Kraftwerk) and otherwise (suicide, zeppelins, craft work) – cohere into a distinct sound that transcends the sum of its parts. From flights of psychedelic whimsy to off-kilter almost-funk to cavernous stadium-rock jams to mysterious midnight folk, The Curious City delivers the rock goods in spades. Well, clubs, actually. Rock clubs. You should really go check them out.
Live, tracks such as the sixteen-minute album closer “Trapped Rabbits” can become things of hypnotic beauty. On record, such moves may be seen as masturbatory. Maybe so, but the point of masturbation is orgasm, and if more bands aimed for euphoric release, the world would be a better place. The members of Modey Lemon are doing their part, keeping one foot in the gutters while the other takes a mighty step toward the infinite.
Modey Lemon on Birdman’s Web site (band page on label site)Modey Lemon Web site (official site)