Indie pop band modernlove. returns with the track ‘Us’. Hailing from Ireland, modernlove. follows in a tradition of indie pop while retaining their own distinctive style. The band’s sound has a 90s inspired feel, perfectly suited for this nostalgic track. ‘Us’ is a breakup song but modernlove. describes it as romantic. True to this description, ‘Us’ is full of contradictions-- imbued with longing, both beautiful and tragic. The intro is upbeat, beginning with a progression of two guitar beats in sequence that are then echoed. Vocals start to softly creep in, and more layers are added, culminating with the addition of percussive elements. This track is both intricately constructed and catchy. I found myself returning to the song time and time again.
In part, ‘Us’ is so mesmerizing because of its dynamic and shimmering guitar lines. A unifying presence is found in the rhythmic beat. The track’s sound quality is very “open”-- the echoey sound present in the intro carries, making it dreamy and atmospheric. In particular, the bridge section is very ambient. The louder background falls away and the tempo suddenly slows. Ethereal vocals gradually build to a more upbeat tempo.
Though the vocals are more measured in the verses, the chorus is explosive and emotional, with soaring lines. There is a natural build to these more intense sections, as the instrumentation in the chorus switches. Irrespective of whether vocals are raspy and darker or more restrained, the track is uniformly emotive. ‘Us’ showcases vocal range and technical skill, as well as a keen ability to convey emotions.
The contrast between the varied vocals and the more constant backbeat is very distinctive. The track is cohesive and this contrast feels natural but engaging to listen to. ‘Us’ is a raw outpouring of emotion, and modernlove.’s connection to this piece is evident in every aspect of it. The emotional duality of the vocal style is mirrored in its lyricism. Towards the beginning of the song, the line “before you go” is sung tenderly whereas the next line is more melancholy. The line “a few months ago” has a slight tremor to it. These early lyrics progress with pauses, and there is a sense of controlled emotion. As a whole, the track reads like a narrative progression, as a story being relayed to the listener.
‘Us’ reminds me of older tracks from the 1975’s discography, specifically Milk and Robbers. ‘Us’ shows off the best features of these earlier pieces: with skillful vocal control and shimmering guitar lines. I’m very curious to see how modernlove.’s style evolves as they continue paving their way within the realm of indie pop.
Written by Fiona