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May 21, 2024

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Modey Lemon
Thunder + Lightning (Birdman)

By: Cam Lindsay

Though they are now a three-piece, Pittsburgh's Modey Lemon wrote and recorded their two albums as a duo. With Phil Boyd on vocals, guitar and moog and Paul Quattrone manning the drums, they would be considered an explosive force of rock even if they had as many members as their labelmates The Warlocks. With that in mind, you get a sense of just how much of a ruckus two men can make. Thunder + Lightning is a history lesson that covers all of the basics: 60s stompin' R&B/garage a la The Sonics; the electrifying Detroit and New York punk scenes of the 70s; the late 80s/early 90s surge of sludge and grunge by bands like Mudhoney and Melvins; and of course, the latest resurrection of rock that has given substance to popular music again. The production is muddy, but very effective in capturing the essence of Modey Lemon. Their songs are psychotic, manic and most importantly, exhilarative. While every hipster and their family seems to be forming garage bands nowadays, Modey Lemon bring something new to the table. They zig zag through their repertoire using such diverse artists as MC5, Suicide and Sun Ra as fuel for their engine. You can hear Martin Rev's signature sound on the wild "Predator", a song that showcases their ability to match their talent for lyrics with their instrumental skills. "The Other Direction" is the only chance you get to hear them turn down the volume, and still, they make things bloody, unexpectedly shifting the tempo and massacring it (which in this case, is a positive comment). Thunder + Lightning is as literal as album titles can get.
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