When the Modey Lemon grew from a duo to a trio prior to
their last album, their half-the-Who-on-twice-as-many-leapers performance evolved
into more of a ‘70s hard rock sound. But even when 2005’s The Curious City climaxed with a 16-minute track, they never
resorted to the excessive wanking of that bygone era. They preferred instead to
sustain and build on a groove.
of Sweets, album number four for the Pittsburgh band, finds the group firing on
all cylinders, adding some prog drones to the mix, getting quiet where
necessary and letting Paul Quattrone cut loose with some machine gun drum work.
His inventive accents give “The Peacock’s Eye” its edge early on, especially
when his piledriving riff leads them back into the song after Phil Boyd’s churning
one-note guitar solo. “Sacred
Place,” on the other hand, barely has more than
pulsing drums, with tremolo guitar and synth bass taking up most of the sound. After
“Ice Castles” chops another power drone into a weird time signature, the album
heads home with a couple tracks that really play up the band’s cohesion. “Live
Like Kids” bears a resemblance to cuts from Sonic Youth’s Daydream Nation and though they could have shaved a minute off the
slowdown ending, the 10-minute epic works as a strong closing statement.
The Modey Lemon’s longevity and steady roadwork has helped
their sound grow to a point where each player’s part seems to give everyone
else extra thrust. Typically it’s Quattrone supplying the ammo, but Boyd and
bassist Jason Kirker do their fair share too.
Tracks: “Milk Moustache,” “The Peacock’s Eye” MIKE SHANLEY