(Daniel 13 Press)
With accomplished pop producer Chris Stamey and former R.E.M.
manager Jefferson Holt both at the helm, one would think Fan Modine had already
broken into the big time, and that the band – a pseudonym for chief architect
Gordon Zacharias – had a profile that would merit these associations. Yet
despite the group having operating below the surface for more than a dozen
years, they’ve barely made a blip on the public radar. Then again, three albums
in 13 years doesn’t speak too highly as far as prolific prowess is concerned.
Still, a listen to Gratitude
for the Shipper suggests any wait is definitely worthwhile; giddy pop
purveyors that fashion themselves in the same mode as Ladybug Transistor, the
Decemberists, Prefab Sprout and the Lilac Time, their music is unerringly
enthusiastic and flush with eager attitude. Most of the dozen or so songs that
encompass the album bear this out, whether it’s the triumphant beckon call of “Julu Road,” the
pretty wistful refrain of “Another Eventail,” or the cheery delight evidenced
in “Meet Me at the End of the Line.”
Awash in jangly guitars, shimmering strings, muted trumpets and even the
occasional Farfisa, these loping melodies get under the skin and borrow deep
into the consciousness, from which they aren’t easily dislodged. Inevitably,
that makes Gratitude for the Shipper all the more worthy of appreciation.
DOWNLOAD: “Julu Road,” “Meet
Me at the End of the Line,” “Another Eventail” LEE ZIMMERMAN