Sunday, February 1, 2009

Review: Modern Skirts - All Of Us In Our Night (* * * *)

The thought of revisiting the alternative rock movement of the early 90s is not an immediately appealing idea to me. Don't get me wrong, my musical journey began there and I have many fond memories of that period of time, but it seems a little early. Modern Skirts, an Athens-based indie quartet, warmed me up to the idea, though, with their recently released sophomore effort, All Of Us In Our Night. Combining a classic alt-rock sound with a variety of pop styles from the 60s and 70s, the band's music is familiar, yet fresh and fun. "Night" is a solid indie album with more than a few great moments.

Modern Skirts use the basic guitar/bass/piano/drum combo almost exclusively throughout "Night," but they mix things up enough stylistically that the album never gets stale. The first single, "Soft Pedals," has a sexy, groovy 70s vibe with low-key percussion and soft keys, "Face Down" has a Weezer-esque guitar riff and matching vocal style, while "Chokehold" feels like an indie bedroom-pop tune with its drum machine and fuzzy keys. For all of the territory covered, the band seem remarkably comfortable in their own skin, showing confidence in their songwriting and musicianship. The lyrics manage to be relatable without feeling overdone or generic, and though occasionally things get a bit melancholy, like on the delicate "Mrs.," the album never gets mopey or depressing. Even as singer Jay Gulley reminisces about the "so many girls who just tear [his] heart in two," the mood is still hopeful.

Album highlights include the retro-flavored piano-rocker "Radio Breaks," the harmony-drenched "Yugo," and "Motorcade," an upbeat sing-a-long produced by and featuring Mike Mills of R.E.M., who is apparently the band's biggest fan. All Of Us In Our Night feels like the music of a band still finding their sound and having fun with the discovery, and you'll enjoy being along for the ride.

Check out some music on Modern Skirts' MySpace page or their homepage.


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