Album Review: Modern Diet – Self Titled
Modern Diet’s brand of indie rock is just about as cool as possible. Jake Cheriff’s lead vocals are crisp and cutting. The layered tracks on Modern Diet’s self titled album show a sophisticated familiarity with rock’s traditions. Hiding harder rock stylings in the midst of a classic rock feel makes for an engaging album.
The featured track on Bandcamp is “Firelight,” a strangely-absorbing neo-classic rock jam, complete with great guitars and vocal harmonies. It’s part Pink Floyd, part Black Sabbath, and mostly just a mashup of sounds and emotions. “Your name burning in my sky…” It’s a place many of us have been; it’s as if no matter what you do or where you go, you can’t stop thinking about the person. Their image is as striking as a fire in the darkness. This track captures that ridiculously soulful experience with an exquisite rock complexity.
But back to the beginning “Come With Us” has a mocking silliness to it. The beat is happy and offers listeners an invitation. “We’re on our way to better days to whiskey waterfalls… I don’t know you but I like you… come with us.” It’s truly the anthem of a group of young people desiring to party and get away. “And it feels so good.” This is like the quintessential college rock band and a perfect college track. No plan – let’s just go chill and see what happens. I’m in.
Now “Echo Parade” is some of the most unique songwriting I’ve heard all year. I mean that. The instrumentation feels traditional, but they’ve created this bizarre ethos that really makes the song work. The strumming, snappy guitar line creates tension that allows the lead vocal to really soar. Even the subtle horn (I think?) helps to build an emotional rollercoaster. It’s up and down, it’s happy and sad, and it’s an adventurous, complicated track.
“My pretty little twisted commitment…” No, seriously, read that line again. That’s the key lyric to “New Waves,” a song that hums along with power and swagger. It’s about a relationship, but it’s also about what we all feel; it’s about that deep, churning feeling that any serious commitment holds. I love how the song highlights the drums and some fantastic vocal harmonies. Not exactly the same style, but the “epic” feel of this one really reminds me of 30 Seconds to Mars. I mean that as high praise.
The song “Drive” talks about “two kinds of blue” and for some of us that’s just a little too real. The narrative style of this jam is absolutely perfect. Listeners feel like they’re walking down the street listening to this one. It’s a natural for a music video. “I’ll meet you on the other side…just tell me why you drive to nowhere, nowhere.” It could be about running. It could be about loss. It could be about distance and fear. I think it’s about all of that and it really works.
The bonus track “Late to Work” is stripped down with an acoustic guitar and some real attitude. The way the guitarist nails the flourishes and that sweet minor chord progression; gah, what a powerful acoustic song. The song is about another passionate, important connection we all have to being in a situation where you just want be late for work the next day. It’s so amazing.
When you take this album as a whole, it’s a really wonderful collection of songs. Modern Diet have a genuine rock sound that is all their own. While I can name a few other bands they reflect, really they have that ultimate compliment that they sound like themselves. I am excited to continue to follow this band. There’s a genuine artistry to what they’re doing here that shows a fantastic melding of songwriting chops with music that also conveys emotion. Listen – and share them with your friends.