Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Album Review: Modern Skirts - Gramahawk

Athens, Georgia band Modern Skirts is ready to break out beyond their hometown with their newest album, Gramahawk.

There’s a rawness to the album that gives it a buzz. These songs feel plucked from the mind of the band.

The record captures individual moments like a fender bender and an obsession for Jane Child, but there isn’t really an cohesion among them. In this case, the lack of cohesion adds to the sporadic and infectious energy. Gramahawk feels off the cuff and of the moment.

While the production here might qualify as lo-fi for Modern Skirts, it’s sounds pretty polished. These are no bedroom recordings. While a lot of the album sounds immediate and upfront, the vocal harmonies vocal harmonies provide depth.

On Gramahawk, repeating rhythms, bright synths and falsetto/cartoony vocals are the norm. Early on, like on “Jane Child,” it can be interesting and quirky, but it can wear on the ear after a while and by the time “DUI” plays, the listener might be sick of it.

Fortunately, Modern Skirts sense of melody has remained intact despite the new directions the band is going. “Happy 81” is the type of song you begin to hum along with on only the first listen.

Gramahawk isn’t perfect, but what Modern Skirts gave up in technical quality allowed them to become looser and has invigorated their sound enough to push them beyond the southeast United States.

Modern Skirts are self-releasing Gramahawk on January 18. The band will play at The Pour House in Raleigh on February 11.

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