Modernage's basic sound is hardly original. With influences that include Joy Division, Fugazi, and Gang of Four, the group shares a postpunk-meets-disco template that has been the style du jour for indie rockers over the past three years. At times the band is reminiscent of Spanish New Wave darlings Hombres G cued by the less pretentious moments of The Cure. Sure, it's been done before, but rarely as good as it has here. Receiver conveys an authority that is surprising considering the band's ever-shifting focus.
If nothing else, Receiver demonstrates how far Modernage has come since its eight-song demo, Modernage: Live at Churchill's. On Receiver singer Mario Giancarlo initially succeeds with a deadpan delivery that reveals on subsequent listening a broad range of emotions and inflections. Bassist Roberto Moriel and drummer Sean Perscky set a grooving metronome of thick bass lines and four-on-the-floor drumming. The songs are spare and at times show only a flicker of a concept. But on the tempo-blurring title track and the closer, "No Answer," Moriel and Perscky prove they are among Miami's most nimble rhythm section.
Complementing them are guitarist Xavier Alexander and key whiz Garcia Freundt. The guitar work on Receiver is muted yet effective -- a series of textures and happy-go-lucky riffs. It leaves plenty of space for Freundt's excellent keyboard work, which is peppered throughout. "Bella" is a standout and sounds like the end product of a three-day coke binge between Blondie and the Stone Roses, with all the sexiness and slime that ensues. Meanwhile, "Headlights" and "The Shore" further the romance with ethereal lyrics and shoegazer bopping.
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Modernage has matured in a relatively short time, and this EP is indicative of a band not afraid to continue developing itself. Although many might liken the group to Interpol, Modernage is more in tune with the work of Argentine masters Soda Stereo and Spain's Los Ilegales (not to be confused with the shitty Nineties boy band). One hopes a full-length isn't too far off into the future.