Not many artists are able to blur the lines between hypnotic, nostalgic and fun as hell, but Modern Crowds manage to evoke all three of these emotions over the course 43 minutes on their self-titled debut album. From the arena-rock opening track “Closer” to “Are You Awake?,” the ballad that closes the album, Jersey Shore-based Modern Crowds lay stake to a wide array of emotions.
Seas will rise and there’s nowhere to hide
Please don’t make this harder than it has to be
Crazy, but I thought your light would help me see
But the way was being blocked by a smokescreen
– “Closer,” Modern Crowds
Listen: Modern Crowds – Modern Crowds
Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering Modern Crowds’ self-titled debut album, independently released this Friday, July 28, 2017. Consisting of Joseph Pellegrinelli, Adam Baczkowski, Doug Gatta, and Charlie Kupilik, Modern Crowds deliver a strikingly diverse, yet cohesive body of experimental/alternative music that hits home through nuanced melodies, rich lyrics, and vibrant rock sound.
Lead vocalist Joseph Pellegrinelli told us “The process of writing and recording the album took about 1 year once all was said and done with remixing and final touches and everything. Our approach was very experimental and although some songs were written with a very specific structure in mind, we spent many hours in the studio tweaking and restructuring our music. Some songs had to be remixed tons of times, and others came together very quickly. The entire experience was simultaneously exhilarating, maddening, enlightening, and very, very fulfilling.“
Pellegrinelli continues: “The way that we look at it as a band is that this album represents an entire year of our lives: Each song is like a snapshot in time. It’s incredibly personal and we’ve really put a lot of ourselves into this, which is part of the reason why we decided to go the self-titled route. It is a proper introduction for us as a band, and the result is about 43 minutes of us making various sounds with various instruments.“
The more upbeat songs on the album have heavy post-punk overtones. “This Time” is both groovy and emotive, especially as Pellegrinelli calls out:
We covered it,
but I still care
Can I hold you one last time?
“This Time” is immediately followed by “75,” which is something of an emotional climax for the album, with bare-bones instrumentation. It’s a sweet, tender moment when Pellegrinelli sings,
I can’t explain
These thoughts that are racing
These feelings, like brush strokes
On blank canvasses
You’re breathing now, it’s alright
The most unifying aspect of all these songs is Pellegrinelli’s haunting, Thom Yorke-like vocal style. His voice is soothing and blends sweetly with the music. He strings his words out just long enough to maintain a dream-like quality throughout the whole album, whether it’s a fist-pounding anthem or a lighter-raising ballad.
The guitar leads can also not be ignored. As more bands step away from guitar solos, Modern Crowds continue to embrace some light shredding. Pellegrinelli’s, Adam Baczkowski’s, and Doug Gatta’s guitar work cannot be ignored: The solos are truly the highlights on “Someday” and “Absent.” The abrupt entrances are reminiscent of Jack White’s early solo work, and it’s always refreshing to hear some nice distortion in indie rock.
Modern Crowds’ debut album is a pleasant late-summer album. There are enough songs to party to, perfect for all-nighters, but the best songs are the softer ones, reminiscent of Radiohead’s The Bends. They’re perfect for summer evenings, watching an August sunset. Out this Friday, Modern Crowds is an excellent debut, sure to be played for many summers to come.
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