Having evolved naturally out of Erica Dunn’s Palm Springs project, Mod Con’s debut album breathes fresh air into the well-worn familiarity of barebones rock’n’roll. The trio of vocalist and guitarist Dunn, bassist Sara Retallick and drummer Raquel Solier approach each of these ten songs with passion, sounding energised, inspired and focused. Produced and recorded by Gareth Liddiard and mastered by Mikey Young, the record has a sonically clean characteristic, like the band are set up playing in a stark non-descript room. Rather than inferring any sterility, this simple approach plays to their powers as a live act—with barely any reliance on effects or use of auxiliary instruments, the focus is solely on the three players.
Delivered with no small amount of rock’n’roll attitude, the songs themselves are substantial, with many of the lyrics contemplating everyday self doubt and relatable complicated emotions. ‘Tell Me Twice’ is an infectious contender for next single and showcases Mod Con’s combined strengths, as each instrument appears to be doing their own thing before locking in together at just the right moment. ‘Sad Times at The Hilton’ is a moody slowburner that showcases the subtlety of their playing, emphasising a tension that manifests itself in dynamic drumming and some slick guitar interplay. Dunn’s throaty vocal is a wonderful thing, capable of delivering nuanced emotion as well as a gleeful ‘don’t-give-a-fuck’ sneer, pushing constantly to fill every note with meaningful urgency.
Album closer ‘Get In Front Of Me, Satan’ points out that the Dunn has not completely left her folk music leanings behind, but even at a slower tempo the band sound dangerous and invigorated. Make no mistake; this is one of the great Australian rock records of the year.
Originally published in Beat Magazine.