Review: Mode Moderne – Strange Bruises

Sometimes things don’t quite work out as planned. Take Mode Moderne who originally teamed up with the intention of starting a dance-oriented project. Admittedly, it’s feasible that ‘Strange Bruises’ could be a soundtrack to a particularly fey indie disco but this Canadian outfit ended up, in their own words, “drawing on the auteurism of Herzog, the prose of Kurt Hamsun and the legend of Scott Walker”.

Initially at least, the brave new world these words promise seem like mere hyperbole. ‘Nightly Youths’ evokes Wild Swans so closely it’s basically a pastiche, albeit a very good one; from the glum guitars to the wavering, emotional vocals of frontman Phillip Intile. There certainly isn’t much on this album to make you think that this record was made after 1985 but when the period level detail is matched by the brooding infectious qualities of the title track or the Bunnymen-esque insouciance of ‘Private Library’, it’s easy top buy in to the Mode Moderne ethos. Even more intriguingly, final track ‘Open Air’ summons up the underrated kings of Scottish glum, Lowlife.

An occasionally muddy production tends to dull the impact of some of these songs and – considering the group have been championed by Pitchfork – one would expect to hear a band with some kind of USP. Nevertheless, the songs are attractively moody and grasp what made their apparent influences so special in the first place.

Web Sites:
Mode Moderne Bandcamp
Mode Moderne Facebook

Further Listening:
Wild Swans, Lowlife, Echo And The Bunnymen

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