In the past, The Modern Skirts have proved themselves to be one of the finest piano-laced indie pop groups in the western hemisphere. But, to be so damn good really seems to come with a price. The dreaded pigeon-holing effect becomes a factor. And any real artist, or avid listener, knows that this could very well mean the death of wonderful musical acts. The Skirts blasted out of nowhere in 2005 with an album that everyone couldn’t stop loving. In 2008, they stepped their game up once again with one of the finest indie pop albums of last decade. They even managed to get one of their most popular tracks on the video game Rockband 2. So, is all this well earned respect a bad thing? One entire sitting with their latest album, Grammahawk, might very well proved the answer really is – Yes. And No!
Grammahawk, much like the Happy 81 EP these Athens based gentlemen released in early 2010, is a complete 360 degree turn, followed by another 90 degrees for good measure. The guys have taken their own route this time around. Using a lo-fi, obscurity based sound to override the pianos that used to carry their act, and although it may frighten fans of the bands original style, the real fans are going to flip their damn lids after hearing the artistic freedom these brooding avant garde rednecks have embraced.
“Bumper Cars” may be labeled and structured to be the single to be heard. And it is a beautiful experimental track. But, to say it stands out amongst the rest of the tracks would be an outright lie. Every track is a brand new experience to be had. In fact, the only tracks that slightly resemble the band’s former pop style are the once highlighted “Happy 81” and the extremely mellow “Glass of Water”. But, don’t expect even these songs to really remind you of years passed. They won’t. Just embrace the new found beauty that is The Modern Skirts. And understand that had they not experienced so much as a fantastic pop act, we may have never gotten to hear these beautiful bedside tracks that we should be eternally grateful for!
If you find yourself able-bodied enough to draw your attention away from the band’s new artistic considerations, make your way back to Jay Gulley’s completely original brilliance. Listen to the shit this guy has to say – with such a sweet and disconcerting voice, it is amazing to hear him through lyrics that are darkly comical and downright intriguing. Sit back and enjoy tales of DUI’s, indecent exposure, mariachi’s, 80’s one hit wonders (specifically Jane Child on the track of the same name), and an overall discontent for human decency and our sometimes ridiculous sense of complacency.
Download: “Bumper Car” by Modern Skirts
1. Jane Child
2. Happy 81
3. Bridges & Overpasses
4. Bumper Car
6. Tape Deck
7. Glass Of Water
8. American Gothic
9. Ship Shape
10. Hitler On Wheels
11. To Be A Branch Davidian