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The Modeens: Take a Ride With the Modeens (Self-released)

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Here's a pleasant surprise: a surf-garage-R&B band playing rambunctious rave-ups that don't blindly parrot 1960s-style music. Instead, The Modeens take a familiar sound, borrow its tropes and motifs, and rework it, throwing in a modern spin.

Listeners may find themselves itching to do the pony, the frug or the watusi after the first couple of tunes, but just as we think we've figured this band out, The Modeens add grit to their DayGlo with the muscular, bluesy "Thang," followed by the swamp-abilly venture "Where Are the Spacemen?" and the two-part "Sonic Daydream," which balances sunny Paisley Underground folk-pop with a heavier psychedelic side.

Guitarist-organist Jamie Laboz and bassist Cristina Williams often trade vocals, although they sound best when harmonizing, such as on "Better Late Than Never." That tune also includes Laboz's mind-bending guitar, on which his tone falls somewhere between that of bagpipes and sitar.

A dandy cover of The Yardbirds' "Heart Full of Soul" helps provide context, while "Showdown" gallops along on desert-bred alt-country. The closer, "Zombie Girl," conflates B-movie sci-fi and horror, but with a candy-colored sheen.

It's obvious that the band labored carefully on the album, which Laboz produced, engineered, mixed and mastered himself. Throughout, the textures are just right, evoking a classic iteration of rock 'n' roll while sounding fully and confidently contemporary.

Take A Ride With The Modeens -...

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