Season of Sweets
Things had been quiet on the Modey Lemon front for some time, with the band's touring schedule fairly limited and the members concentrating on outside pursuits. An EP released earlier this year was its only recorded output in the past three years. So the band's new full-length, Season of Sweets, is a not-so-immediate follow-up to 2005's The Curious City. But just as that earlier record did, Sweets represents a fairly significant stylistic change from its predecessor.
While some of the tracks -- "Sacred Place" and "Ice Fields," for example -- have the "acid trip in a haunted wood" feel of The Curious City, others recall the band's earlier efforts, if in an updated fashion. One can imagine "Become a Monk," with its bluesy central riff and irreverent thematic elements, as having appeared at some point earlier in the group's tenure, but not with the patience and narrative structure it exhibits here. Likewise, "Peacock's Eye" brings back the band's old chooglin' sound with some added sonic dissonance and weirdness.
Beyond the melding of elements already present in the group's work, there are moments that feel fresh and new on Sweets: Both "It Made You Dumb" and the epic closing track, "Live Like Kids," have an ethereal pop feel not wholly familiar from the band's earlier albums. These aren't songs that feel out of place, but they create stop-and-think moments.
While it's nearing the 10-year mark as a band, Modey Lemon manages to avoid falling into too comfortable a routine musically. Sweets is a logical progression for the group, and one that proves that, in addition to working on solo projects and non-musical pursuits, Phil Boyd, Jason Kirker and Paul Quattrone have been actively experimenting with new sounds and continue to grow as individual musicians and as a unit.