Modey Lemon

Thunder + Lightning

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    8
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Modey Lemon offer scabrous, punky hard rock on their second album, driven by elemental riffs that owe much to the early-'70s proto-punk school. It's the kind of thing that's been done by many other bands, of course, but Modey Lemon are fairly good at it, with Phil Boyd's hoarse-but-youthful vocals imparting a knowing cool as they ride on top of pummeling rhythms. Too, they have a much better sense of dynamics than many another groups following similar paths, particular in Boyd's use of some skin-crawling electronic textures to add depth to the dominant drums and guitars. Lyrically, this covers much of the stuff that seems to go with the territory in this sort of thing: dread, on-your-toes lookouts for survival, and a compulsive attraction to predatory sex ("I'd rather be your enemy than to be nothing at all" they proclaim in the title track), with some ghoulish imagery of graves, crows, snakes, and worms mixed in here and there. They don't sound quite as gloomy and pissed-off as some of their fellow travelers (though hardly lacking in energy), which actually serves the music well: they're fighters who do celebrate some aspects of life, not total revelers in its muck. The mix doesn't lend the lyrics clarity at all times -- another trait that comes with much of this territory -- but they're printed in the sleeve if you get lost.

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