Brooklyn based indie band Modern Rivals began their set at Mercury Lounge July 25 with the spaced out jam of “Clocks vs. Darts”, off their second EP, Sea Legs. The quintet continued on, launching into another song on the release from this spring, “Small Bell”. Erick Lee’s story telling vocals sweetly hover over complex rhythms and instrumental breaks. With the occasional vocal support of three part harmonies, it was clearly Lee’s show. His speaking voice was actually in a lower register, projecting a cool confidence in his music as he thanked the large, enthusiastic audience for coming. Unfortunately, the lack of lighting at the venue obscured interactions between band members and their movements on stage—cutting off communication of these live performance moments as well as anything that could be directed to the crowd.
A new song, “Pins and Stitches,” found the band hitting their stride with a memorable chorus and building finale. The dream pop intro of “Riku” was an apt backdrop for the lyric “Something strange is going on”, until the song switched gears into an upbeat rocker. Keyboard trills introduced the chugging beat of the final song, “Defenestrate You,” a tuneful romp to end their night.
Modern Rivals will be making two more appearances in New York in the next two months. On August 25th, they will be at the Studio at Webster Hall and on September 13th they will perform at The Rock Shop. Below you can stream their new EP, Sea Legs.
Photos from Mercury Lounge (Credit Jake Seymour):