By Luke Shirley
Be prepared to fall in love with this energetic and eccentric indie group from Brooklyn. Having binge-listened to their album Modern Dances over the past two weeks, I would say that this album was among the best of 2013.
The album begins with the preeminent track, “Summer Skin.” A euphoric account of the glory days of summer, this mix of post-punk and indie pop will have you hooked after one chorus. Tight, fuzzy guitar work is reminiscent of the Strokes, but the slow-dripping tone of Julian Casablancas is replaced with a spitfire lyricism propelled by a punk bassline à la The Clash. I suggest watching the music video (see link below). Not only will you be overcome with nostalgia from your wet-and-wild memories of high school summertime, but you’ll fall for their quirkiness, their enthusiasm, and their passionate friendship.
While “Summer Skin” alone was enough to get me obsessed with TGSM, the album as a whole is immensely impressive. “It’s On” stands out as an exciting synthesis of Ra Ra Riot-esque synth-pop and an Arcade Fire-esque teenage zest (you know, with those impassioned, downtempo moans that we love in songs like “Wake Up” or Thirty Seconds to Mars’ “Kings and Queens”). TGSM proves it can successfully explore other styles with songs like “Faith” and “Light as a Feather.”
On the innovative “Faith,” lead singer Morgan Lynch shows a remarkable Fergie-like intensity, but juxtaposes it with a soft-spoken innocence. “Light as a Feather” opens with an overdriven organ and whispery vocals (Yeah Yeah Yeah’s “Dull Life”) but quickly opens up into upbeat 1950s style rock n’ roll. Morgan Lynch shares vocal duties with guitarist Matt Roi Berger, who delivers a notable, Mick Jagger-like performance on the speedy “Ghost Coast”. Ultimately, the album succeeds in presenting ten catchy songs that highlight a unique style and a striking eclecticism.
Keep an eye out for a new album, hopefully being released in early 2015! In the meantime, check out their past releases for a few treats that didn’t make Modern Dances. Early EPs like Pioneer Ghost and Hear Boys Talk infuse some acoustic guitars, playful island beats, funk, and synths with a distinct pop-punk sensibility, all while keeping that bell-like Strat tone going.
Check back soon for an interview with the band, as well as a concert review!