MOD CON – Modern Convenience
Some bands just nail their directive to the wall and make it sound so easy.
MOD CON’s snarling post-punk-via-indie-rock checks all the boxes – it’s impassioned, it’s proficient, it’s innovative and it sounds like so much that we love from the past but gives us an exciting glimpse into indie-rock’s future at the same time.
Vocalist Erica Dunn’s delivery goes switches between snarling and kinda-sweet with ease. She takes little bit of anger, a little bit of apathy, a little bit of arrogance and a fair dose of anarchy and channels it into a truly captivating vocal.
On top of that, her guitar work is some of the freshest you’ll hear on an Australian rock record this year (though we haven’t heard what she brings to the Tropical Fuck Storm record yet). She skates that line between complete proficiency and gutsy, reckless abandon. Loose and fervent, without ever coming close to falling to pieces.
The weird noisy flourish that closes ‘Submit’, the wonky riff that churns through ‘Mirror Of Venus’ and the discordant solo in ‘Neighbourhood’ are just three of many examples of her versatility with axe in hand.
Bassist Sara Retallick and drummer Raquel Solier take the same approach; finding a groove that doesn’t ever feel constricting, but ensures these songs have an uncrackable backbone.
The way the guitar and rhythm section interlock in the sinewy ‘Kidney Auction Blues’ makes it awfully hypnotic. The frantic ‘Tell Me Twice’ is the album’s best pop song, but the sorrowful ‘Bad Time At The Hilton’ serves as a delicately placed pause midway through, its synth strings adding yet another colour to the record’s wide-ranging palette.
Gareth Liddiard (who produced the record) says MOD CON are “somewhere between The Bangles and Black Flag”. This is a pretty solid way of describing both the strong discordance and intuitive melodiousness of what they do.
It’s also a solid way of dodging comparisons to Sleater Kinney, another trio making urgent indie rock with the same kind of aggression and pop smarts as MOD CON. Songs like ‘Do It Right Margo’ wear the influence of the Portland trailblazers very prominently.
From the punchy, punky opener ‘Scorpio’, to the defiant slow-burner ‘Get in Front of Me Satan’ that ends the record 35 minutes later, there is so much to like about this first outing from a very exciting new Australian band.
Their debut is a concise, varied and astonishingly cohesive record that’s going to sound good no matter when you discover it. But you might as well do so now.