Review Summary: Well isn't this just pleasant.
It doesn't take long after pressing play on Your Rage Is Attractive
for one to realize that there's a lot going on in these songs. The second full-length effort from Modern American Theatre
, a six-piece indie/progressive outfit from the Los Angeles area, features a few new twists yet sticks to the same potent formula that made their debut one of 2010's hidden gems. Immediately calling to mind such influences as Parades
, Minus the Bear
, or even avant-garde prog-stars Battles
, Your Rage Is Attractive
quickly cements itself as a dynamic piece of music, with frequent changes in pace and texture contributing to its high level of character, but doing so without losing its overall sense of cohesiveness.
This character is obvious right from the get-go in "Pow! Gasol", a quirky yet defiant opening track. Featuring a chorus powerful enough to fill and satisfy a stadium full of screaming fans, the song still maintains a certain smallness and intimacy that makes the listener feel almost as if it were written specifically for them. Modern American Theatre
perform best on this threshold, tinkering with the contrast of a brash epic-ness and a small-town band familiarity to create songs that stand strong on their own yet stand even stronger together. In short, the band has created music with both the big city flare of L.A. and the more unique disposition of indie rock, further supplemented by their bizarre progressive tendencies - an achievement that is by no means trivial.
Take a track like "Mantenga Tahoe Azul", arguably the album's most well-developed and best thought out song. It showcases three full minutes of all six band members hard at work, meshing their efforts in a complex yet seamless way. Again, the abnormal progressive aptness of a group such as Battles
shines through here, except this time it's Modern American Theatre
having all the fun whilst riding the wings of vocalist Natalie Diaz, whose quaint yet confident singing engages the listener without calling attention away from the consistently impressive musical backdrop.
While the relatively short play length is a refreshing quality for this record, especially for an attention-span-challenged individual like myself, at the same time I can't help but wonder if it takes something away from these songs and the album as a whole. Then again, perhaps a certain magic and charm is maintained in sticking to these shorter songs, and the result is nothing short of a fantastically pleasant listen. It just seems each track successfully builds itself into something rather impressive and complex, but so quickly relinquishes this status and concedes to fading out. Modern American Theatre
is a band that could undoubtedly write sprawling and borderline epic ten-plus minute tracks, yet they choose not to, with the longest track on "Your Rage Is Attractive" still clocking in under 5 minutes. Take, for example, the breakdown/bridge section in "You Made Me Ink", during which the band fabricates an irresistibly surreal musical atmosphere, yet cuts it short all too quickly, ending the song soon thereafter. It makes one wonder what the hurry is for Modern American Theatre
and why they choose to nip such potential in the bud.
Either way, it's impossible to ignore the pleasantness of "Your Rage Is Attractive", whether as a background soundtrack to one's day or via more attentive listening. One would hope to see Modern American Theatre
expand on their enormous potential and evolve into something massive and incredible, but really, what reason is there to complain if they don't?