RIYLMinus the Bear
Tracklist01. Pow! Gasol
02. I've Heard of Them, But I Haven't Heard Them
03. You Made Me Ink!
04. Berlin Reunited and It Feels So Good
05. Arms Akimbo Slice
06. Mantenga Tahoe Azul
07. Fine Dining
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Modern American Theatre aren’t fighting fair. Having released their debut EP We Could Make a House in November of last year, they’ve followed it up with Your Rage is Attractive, which is also their debut EP. Feeling thoroughly Tarantinoed? Your Rage is Attractive is a collection of the band’s earliest songs, recorded in the luxurious studio El Cuarto Del Their-Guitarist-Justin-Bardales. However, the band temporarily shelved these recordings in favor of releasing We Could Make a House. Yeah, most new bands struggle to put together a half-decent four or five song EP, and Modern American Theatre’s deck is so stacked that they tabled an impressive 7-track EP in favor of an outstanding 8-track EP. Luckily for fans and newcomers alike, Your Rage is Attractive is finally seeing the light of day— bathed in June’s early summer sun. The EP is at once both an interesting snapshot of Modern American Theatre’s evolution as songwriters and a quality entry into the short but promising beginnings of the band’s discography.
Despite the light and airy opening seconds of lead-off track “Pow! Gasol,” it’s quickly apparent that early Modern American Theatre tracks had a heavier backbone of chunky synth, bass and effect-laden guitars. The track’s driving chorus and proggy solo showcase a meatier, less nimble brand of indie rock, not unlike vintage, Highly Refined Pirates-era Minus the Bear. The following song and single, “I’ve Heard of Them, But I Haven’t Heard Them,” though, sounds more like the evolutionary bridge between Your Rage is Attractive and We Could Make a House. Equally heavy on synth, but with more agile guitar work, the song bounces along, underscoring the sunny charm of Natalie Diaz’s infectious vocals.
“You Made Me Ink!” and “Berlin Reunited and It Feels So Good” return to the band’s old-Minus the Bear-drenched roots (even the way they name their tracks), which is a mixed blessing. Honestly, if there’s any band that needs to be emulated more, it’s Minus the Bear, but I do appreciate just how unique Modern American Theatre’s sound has become on We Could Make a House.
That of course isn’t to say that Your Rage is Attractive isn’t worthy on its own. The instrumentation is still top notch, with several instruments often working in harmony while another forges its own melody—all while Diaz’s vocals rise and alight like a weaving flock of birds. This dynamic comes to a head in “Arms Akimbo Slice” following the bright and brooding, synthy bridge; the whole band comes in full force following the placid interlude, and Diaz delivers one of her most powerful vocal performances across either album.
Bottom line, if you like your indie rock on the mathy side (or you like Minus the Bear) Your Rage is Attractive is a ridiculously fun listen from a talented new band that deserves to be heard. And hey, they’ve also got We Could Make a House available too. Really, with two debut EPs to pick and choose from, you can’t go wrong.