Music Review #9: Modern Color – Now, Life Is Living You

After the release of their latest LP, From The Leaves Of Your Garden, American Alt-Rock, Grunge and Shoegaze combo Modern Color launched their new EP today, on 24th September.

On Now, Life Is Living You, the Californian quartet moves in a new direction while simultaneously staying true to their roots. In short: Modern Color know how to keep their style fresh without alienating their listeners and they deliver on all fronts.

Why change when you can just improve?

Dread is a strong opening track with a dark, grungy sound. It is packed to the brim with a melancholic atmosphere that is carried by both, gloomy instrumentals and heartfelt lyrics creating a suffocatingly tight atmosphere. On top of that, this song is really dynamic and ranges from slower bits, as in the intro, to faster sections with instrumentation propelling you forward during the strong and catchy chorus – Dread makes for a perfect opener and offers a nice change of pace from the explosive energy of the band’s earlier releases without losing out on that power.

The music video of Dread by Modern Color

The same goes for the name-sake track of this EP. While From The Leaves Of Your Garden was full of energy and atmosphere, Now, Life Is Living You ranks up the strong mood even more. The title track picks up where Dread left off and opts for a stronger atmosphere instead of just raw energy. That doesn’t take away from its impact, though: the first half of this track creates a strong mood and keeps you on your toes with its tempo changes and build-up before the escalation in the later half.

In the second half of the song, Modern Color return to their melodic hardcore roots and bring back the shouts, which are accompanied by catchy cleans and a breakdown that is hard-hitting and melodic at the same time. This song has the same energy as those on the band’s last LP, but it weaves in an even stronger atmosphere than their older tracks. This is where the tidal wave breaks, at the very latest. If this song doesn’t get you moving, I don’t know what will.

No. 3, Opiate, shifts to a more sombre tone again. During the first verse, the vocals and instrumentals are relatively tame and chill, until piercing riffs join in and the track continuously builds up in its intensity. Opiate feels very playful, yet very intense and powerful, especially when the instrumentals kick in for the first chorus. Like an undertow, they suck you right in, while the catchy vocals get stuck in your head and bring you back to the surface. This repeats again and again but the instrumentals gain in intensity and make you want more. One might say this track is addictive.

Last but not least, the release closes with Day Star, another perfect summary of Modern Color‘s sound. What starts very slowly with cleans, dreamy guitars and relaxed drums, takes a massive turn towards a heavier and more intense shoegaze track that again encapsulates this band’s sound. In that final section, everything comes together and leads into an ethereal but likewise hard-hitting closing track that packs a punch and delivers a great atmosphere at the same time.

Last Thoughts and Evaluation

Now, Life Is Living You is a strong successor to a very strong LP. Modern Color manage to switch things up a little without giving up on what made their previous record so great: the intense energy and atmosphere. The Californians opt for an even stronger atmosphere, which they intermingle with changes in pace and heavier sections packing some punch. On Now, Life Is Living You, the band takes everything great about their previous record into a new direction without taking away from the energy of their music.

This is a 9/10, as it delivers on all ends: instrumentals, vocals and mood. If you enjoyed From The Leaves Of Your Garden, you are probably going to like this one as well. In case you’ve never heard of this group, definitely check out this EP if you’re into atmospheric rock.

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Published by sovlpvnk

On this blog, I talk about the alternative music scene and its ethics as well as LGBTQIAP+ -related topics. I mostly write about asexuality, political issues and their representation in media. Expect content in English and German once per month. Book and film reviews on my goodreads and letterboxd accounts: sovlpvnkblog and sovlpvnk.

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