In 2007 Martin Pitts (guitar/vocal) and Alex Norris (drums) started to jam. Back then they didn’t have a name but they had a spark. The name Thick Modine would come along with a bassist Maverick Raber (love that name).
On their Bandcamp page they have a self-titled album Thick Modine that they released in 2013. I took a listen and it sounds like a bunch of demos compared to their latest Super Premium. Much in the same way that Foxygen does Thick Modine tips its hat to rock bands of the ‘60s and ‘70s like The Rolling Stones and Creedence Clearwater Revival. People tell Pitts he sounds like John Fogerty but if you don’t hear some Mick Jagger in there as well then you might be deaf.
Super Premium is an emotionally fueled record that combines soul, gospel, rock and blues to name just a few. Right from the first song “I Talk To Strangers” there is a sense of urgency and revolution one would feel when listening to a band like Jefferson Airplane. The energy is immediate and hard to deny. Lyrics aren’t always symbiotic with music but not in this case. They feel connected with the general vibe of the song. Pitts sings, “Who wrote the book? Who child, you did/ you're who they make the gold for/ you aggravate all my wants to be some big player in a world on rich means.”
“I’m Gonna Burn” begins with an undercurrent of warm anticipation created by a steady kick drum and a guitar while Pitts sings, “Babe, you let me know I'm gonna burn / But these flames they rise in the church.” Once the slide guitar enters into the mix the song picks up an exponential amount of energy. It gets more intense as it progresses and ends up being one of the most satisfying songs on the release.
“Keep The Lights On” contains so much soul, feeling and emotion it’s hard to deny. Pitts delivers arguably his best vocal performance here. The guys are on and they capture an unbridled energy you rarely hear in recording. They close with a certified rocker entitled “Mama Bleed All Night.” The guitars are covered in a good amount of distortion as Pitts sings, “Mama Bleed All Night/ Hoo Hoo Hoo/ Mama Bleed All Night/ Mama Bleeds All Night/ Mama Bleeds All Night.”
It took awhile but the band has arrived with this release. The songs are not only well written but the delivery is spot on. It gave me that same feeling I had when I listened to The Rolling Stones, Jefferson Airplane or Jethro Tull.
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