Music News

King for a Day

Despite its name, Modernism is decidedly retro thanks to its fealty to old-fashioned rock verities: hooky melodies, sugary harmonies, tidy structures and sincere crooning courtesy of British import Simon Levene. While these elements are noteworthy in and of themselves, however, they can't quite lift the CD above the ordinary.

Production is part of the problem. Sure, the chiming guitars and give-and-take vocals heard throughout "One of These Days" are pleasant enough, but the ditty doesn't boast the sort of signature sonics that might differentiate it from the pop forerunners on which it's modeled. Likewise, other offerings contain strong ideas that lose much of their muscle in execution. For example, the chorus of "Waiting for the Revolution" sports a driving/chugging riff that should lift the track into the stratosphere. Instead, the song maintains a modest cruising altitude.

Levene and his crew have the capacity to be great. Modernism settles for good.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts