With their new EP, This Modern Life prove they can deliver a solid collection of commercially accessible rock, carrying an undercurrent of something much deeper than a first listen implies. Self-aware yet unpretentious songwriting is accentuated by passionate playing and playful use of a familiar musical style. The band even hint at this interplay between two worlds with the EP’s artwork, obscuring their drummer’s face behind a monkey mask, forcing a bright grin onto an otherwise grey and uniform picture of a man in front of a garage door.
The first track, “The Only Solution” neatly introduces the band’s blend of commercial influences, kicking off the EP with something fun and easy to hear. It’s immediate appeal comes from bringing a pinch of The Subways together with a dash of The Bronx, tied together by subtle drum fills introducing new sections. The track revolves around a euphoric swelling chorus, and as it moves into the middle 8, pop punk melodies intertwine with the vocals, which in turn blend into a swift build to the final outro. Your neck muscles completely overrule your brain by this point, and your head gently starts to move in time to the incessant musical energy pouring from the drums.
The band clearly knew what they wanted to achieve with this release, and they’ve created a new monster for the Brighton scene to digest. However, for my two cents, I want the next one to be more like the bonus track available when you purchase the 4-track version. Despite everything good I’ve got to say about the first three tracks on this CD, “Captains” feels like the most honest representation of what they’re about.
Here the band seem to find their sweet spot, exactly where they want to be on the scale between accessibility and balls out rock n roll. Tasty riffs packed with crunch and texture power the verses, and short gaps of silence give the section a slightly unhinged feel, like it could simply stop altogether, or explode at any moment. The chorus keeps the song grounded, allowing the weirder verses to revolve around it without spinning out of control. The song is a tantalising hint at the direction the band should take, an indication that they have all the elements in place that they need to make truly explosive rock ‘n’ roll.
This Modern Life have got the essence of greatness under their belts, with their hard work paying off in the form of some really excellent recordings. Building on what they’ve achieved here will turn This Modern Life into a force to be reckoned with. Definitely a band to watch, and anyone serious about keeping up with music round Brighton needs to add this EP to their collection.