Album Reviews

Modey Lemon – Thunder + Lightning

(mute) UK release date: 17 May 2004


There is a problem in rock today. It exists in the form of bands who get all dressed up, try to make a dirty grimy din, end up sounding more dead than a Tory, but still consider themselves well ‘ard. A little like those pretty boys from the lostprophets daring to call themselves “metal” (hee hee hee).

Not only do bands such as these remove integrity from the scene they are trying to artificially inseminate, but they also do a poor job of impersonating passionate musicians. Relax though dear reader, for The Modey Lemon are here to offer a powerful antidote.

Hailing from Pittsburgh, at barely 20 years of age, and making more of a twisted noise than Josh Homme and his troupe of stoned backers could shake a distortion pedal at, Modey Lemon mean business.

With opener, and highlight track Crows kick-starting a 40-minute, non-stop, aggressive, blues-fuelled offensive, the quick-to-follow title track shows no signs of letting up. Thankfully, this slightly less structured and very drug-induced number is over within two minutes, before the big band beat of Predator rolls in with more Zeppelin nostalgia than a mullet wearing biker at tribute show.

Poison Ink Clouds drifts into slightly Doors-like territory, with custom Moog synthesisers ringing through. It is tracks such as this that highlight the truly unique approach to production (if you can call it that!) which makes a mockery of any band who don’t just stick some microphones into a warehouse and let rip. If you thought Steve Albini took an understated approach to his work, this mayhem influenced aural nightmare echoes Primus and Clutch in some respects, while holding onto more of a genuine ’70s groove throughout.

Unfortunately, I have a sneaking suspicion and fear that certain areas of the music press will not only like Modey Lemon, but champion them to the point of ridicule, so that many estate agent, convertible driving, snowboarding yuppies will be loading this album on to their iPod in the next month or so. Please God, no!

With a strong thread of bird-like influences flowing the length of the album, what with crows, black flamingos, and talk of claws and predators, it would seem that the Modey Lemon boys are intent on swooping down into your ears and nesting for the summer.


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Modey Lemon – Thunder + Lightning


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