All Of Us In Our Night
By Julia Reidy
Athens, Ga.’s Modern Skirts will never not make pop music, no matter how hard they try. Their sophomore full-length, entitled All Of Us In Our Night, is just that — albeit an exercise in pop with a good bit of the experimental and the weird seeped in. The piano-driven, shimmering tunes found on the band’s 2005 debut Catalogue of Generous Men have given way to bizarre harmonic choices and sudden key shifts on this self-released follow-up. The whole record — intentionally, according to the band — sounds considerably further off-kilter, deliberately moving away from the easy-to-listen-to, easy-to-hum numbers on Catalogue. Even the album’s sunnier numbers like “Radio Breaks” or “Chanel” have strange chord progressions behind their carefree lyrics. And the more interestingly arranged songs like the subtly creepy “Soft Pedals” or the minor, counterpoint-laden “Astronauts” spin far to the left of clear acoustic-driven songs like “
Pasadena,” the most popular track from Catalogue.
As always, the band’s two strongest suits are backup vocals and JoJo Glidewell’s piano-playing, from the “ooh”s and “aah”s behind the infectious melody during “Yugo” and the emphatic sing-along in “Motorcade” (the track produced by R.E.M.’s Mike Mills) to the almost comical synthesizer keys on closer “Like Lunatics.”
Though far from groundbreaking, All Of Us In Our Night marks an important progression for a band so often pigeonholed as inhabiting one particular musical niche or for fulfilling the desires of only one specific kind of audience. Though due to the disparate natures of the album’s 12 tracks it’s hard to say what they’re growing toward, clearly Modern Skirts are growing up.
Catch Modern Skirts at The Earl on Janurary 30 with The Constellations and Max Indian (tickets available here), and at The 40 Watt in Athens on January 31 with The Constellations and Oblio.