In their two years of growth and exploration, Miami alt-rockers Modernage have set out to thrive amid the city's notorious schmaltz and glitz. With an influence list including Joy Division, Fugazi, and Gang of Four, Modernage strives to be more than just another entry into the post-punk annals, churning out midtempo, danceable numbers at times reminiscent of Spanish new-wave darlings Hombres G and cued by the less pretentious moments of the Cure.
Receiver's cleaner production reveals how far the band's come from its Modernage: Live at Churchill's eight-track demo. Singer Mario Giancarlo initially succeeds with a deadpan delivery that, on subsequent listening, opens into a broad range of emotions and inflections. His pace is dictated by the charged energy of the rhythm section: Bassist Roberto Moriel and drummer Sean Perscky set a grooving metronome of thick bass lines and four-on-the-floor drumming. Juxtaposed with Giancarlo's vocals on the EP's title track as well as its closer, "No Answer," their rhythm changes show Modernage's minimalist, building approach as the driving force for great songs.
Topping the tightness are guitarist Xavier Alexander and keys whiz Garcia Freundt; the guitar work ranges from muted hues and happy-go-lucky riffs, peppered with keyboards throughout. "Bella" finds the band in serious sync, coming off like Blondie sniffing the Stone Roses -- with all the sexiness that entails. "Headlights" and "The Shore" further the romance with ethereal vocals and shoegaze bopping.
Modernage has matured in a relatively short time, and this EP is indicative of a band that's not afraid to continue developing. While many might pair the band with Interpol, it's more in tune with the work of Argentine masters Soda Stereo and Spain's Los Ilegales (not to be confused with the shitty '90s boy band). Hopefully, a full-length is not too far off into the future.
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