The fourth album from Pittsburgh’s Modey Lemon begins deceptively light. Rumbling out of the gate is the drum-powered “The Bear Comes Back Down the Mountain,” a track whose almost chant-like vocals and odd keyboard flourishes could distract the listener from just how rock the song really is. By the time the guitar kicks the intensity up a notch or three, any idea that the band was going to plink along with annoying, sugar-laden pop is quickly banished.
Modey Lemon does a fantastic job of blending pop, rock and artsy psychedelia. Occasionally channeling a beefier take on Pixies-style alt rock, they waste no time getting into territory visited by bands like Dead Meadow or Danava—jammy, retro-tinted riffs over tub-thumping rhythms. The closing track, “Live Like Kids,” is more than 10 minutes of spacey psychedelia that only wants for a lava lamp and some ganja smoke. Plenty of bands label themselves “stoner rock” but most could only dream of hitting the sweet spots Modey Lemon does.
Season of Sweets is a solid album, with drummer Paul Quattrone’s stellar rhythms nearly stealing the show. This album is proof that “pop” and “heavy” need not be mutually exclusive, and chances are, played live, the songs will simply kill. (Chris La Tray)
Modey Lemon plays at the Badlander Monday, July 7, at 9 PM. Free. $5 under 21.