Album Review: ‘Before Sunrise’ by Modern Space

I’ve been sitting in front of my laptop for a solid half hour trying to figure out how to start this review. I’m not sure if that’s due to the fact that I’m attempting to write a coherent blogpost within the hour that exists between my 8 AM class and my 12 noon class or that I just have so much to say about this EP, but it’s happening nonetheless. Before I get into the full-on review, I should probably start off by saying that I cannot remember the last time I was this excited to review something. I can’t even remember the last time I was as excited by a band as I am by Modern Space. I reviewed their epic first single “Pen to Paper” back in October, and I’ve been waiting for the release of their debut EP ever since. Now that it’s finally here, I can confidently say that it was well worth the wait and that it’s been on repeat for the past few days and that there’s no sign of that stopping now. I am very happy that I finally get to share this review with you. Here we go.

There was a pang of joy in my heart when iTunes notified me that my Before Sunrise pre-order was ready. iTunes is possibly the most frustrating thing on the planet, but I got everything downloaded and proceeded to lay in the dark like a weirdo as I listened to the EP. There’s something about complete darkness that makes me feel like I can absorb the music that much better. It’s probably untrue, but I do it anyway. Modern Space had already released four of the seven songs on the album, and I love every single one of them, so there was a good amount of pressure for the last three tracks to live up to that. And believe me, they did. The quality of the EP is way, way above my expectations, especially since this is the band’s first release.

Before Sunrise kicks off with “Rule Britannia,” and just like every other track on the EP, it’s catchy as hell. Modern Space create a sunny, upbeat kind of indie rock that puts you in a good mood almost instantaneously, and this song is a perfect representation of what’s to come within the next twenty-five minutes of the album. The good part really comes up in the bridge as the drum beat builds up before crashing back into the chorus, but the track is really just great overall.

Next up is “Pen to Paper,” the band’s debut single and still one of my favourite songs on the record. The song starts off straight away and ends nearly as quickly, but it packs a lot of punch within its three minutes. In many ways it reminds me of something by The Vaccines, as it’s a no-nonsense, straight-to-the-point kind of track just like the British rock band is known for. “Pen to Paper” heads straight into “It’s Only A Dream,” which feels like a Jack Kerouac novel or a spoken word piece by a beat poet put straight into a song. It contains some of my favourite lyrics from the album, including “it’s just that open road fuelling my soul” and “so I lit her up the moon” and “we danced underneath the stars like poets and restless hearts.” Naturally the whole thing makes me long for summer air and loud music and road trips. It’s wonderful.

The fourth track on the EP is one of my favourites. Not only that, but I can see it becoming one of my favourite songs in general. The first time I heard it, I’m pretty sure my jaw dropped straight to the floor in awe. I love it so  much. “Festival Express” embodies everything good about music festivals. Beat up tents and daisies stuck in hair and naps in the sun are just a few of the best things mentioned in the song, and just listening to it brings me straight back to the effortlessness of WayHome and the ease with which we all moved through the weekend. After listening to this, I’m surprised that there aren’t more tracks about music festivals. It’s genius, that’s it. Honestly it should probably WayHome’s theme song. Somebody start a petition and we’ll see how far we get.

“Let It Out” is the fifth song on the album, and if I’m not mistaken and my ears are hearing things correctly, it starts out with the lyric “walk for hours and meet some people who love The Strokes.” If I’m wrong, then that’s straight up embarrassing, but if I’m right then holy shit this song gets off to a great start. It’s not every day that a band you love sings about another band you love. The track is groovy and consuming and the kind of thing that you want to clap along to and listen to on repeat. (The whole album is like that, let’s be real.) The music video is also hilarious and features snippets of Modern Space’s life on the road and the antics the seem to get up to. Overall it’s just great. That’s all I have to say.

Second to last is “Carpet Diamonds,” which has one of the most epic melody changes I’ve ever heard in my nineteen years of existence. As with the rest of the tracks on Before Sunrise, this one also has some pretty great lyrics. The chorus sounds almost like you could transplant it into “Hard to Explain” by The Strokes, and I love how many parallels I can draw between the two bands. It makes me happy. Anyway, “Carpet Diamonds” is a cute-but-not-too-cute kind of track about being with someone you love, and honestly, if there’s a song that makes me wish I had a boyfriend, it’s this one. “I still think you’re the one” and “you’re worth the time” are the kind of lyrics that make my heart flutter and when you couple that with the fact that this song is incredibly strong musically, you get a great tune. I love it a lot.

The album comes to a close with the slowest track of the EP, “Little Lies.” It’s a beautiful love song that captures you straight from the beginning and pulls at your heartstrings with lyrics like “take my heart I’ll take yours too” and “I’ll stay up all night with you.” It’s the perfect ending to the EP, almost as if allowing the listener to pause after all the catchiness was the best thing the band could have done. This is the kind of song that you want to listen to in the middle of the night while you’re gazing up at the stars and the moon and creating some sort of epic scenario in your head or thinking about the future or something equally as exciting and nerve-wracking. At least that’s what I would do. Suit yourself, though.

Modern Space killed it with this EP. Absolutely killed it. It leaves you satisfied and wanting more all at the same time, as if those seven songs were so great that you couldn’t ask for anything else but also as if you want way more just because you know how wonderful anything the band puts out will be. Before Sunrise makes you want to live in the moment and embrace everything around you, but it also fills you with nostalgia and longing for moments passed or another era entirely or something you’ve never had. It’s both simple and complicated, understated and in-your-face, metaphorical and plain and simple. I feel inspired by it, and I can’t remember the last time I said that about an album. The past few days have been spent scrawling the lyrics on my hands and painting them in my visual journal and trying to tear the words for this blogpost out of me because I have so much to say and I want so badly to do the EP justice.

Before Sunrise is an incredible collection of songs. It’s insane to me that this is their debut EP, that they haven’t been making music for decades. It’s some of the best stuff I’ve heard in a really long time, and the fact that this came out of a brand new band astounds me. I have this special vinyl holder where I put all my favourite artists and LPs, and once I get Before Sunrise on vinyl, it’s going there. Essentially what I’m saying is that you should go listen to this album as soon as possible. You can thank me later.

Modern Space are currently on tour in Western Canada in support of Arkells. They play Toronto on March 5th with Fast Romantics, so be sure to check them out! 

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