By Oscar Ross, Music Editor
Irish indie-pop group modernlove. deliver a second collection of glittery pop tunes in their new EP, Oh My Mind, moving further into the realms of synth-driven, bright-eyed indie pop.
Youthful and bright, Oh My Mind follows the sun-kissed, troubled teen summer sound that modernlove. established in their 2021 debut project, Monochrome Blue. Existing fans will not be disappointed. This EP adopts a more pop-driven approach to the indie scene, with swelling synths, passionately delivered vocals and driving drum and guitar riffs. This combination creates a dynamic and energetic feel to Oh My Mind, with hard and fast songs such as ‘Take My Head’ providing a sharp contrast with the slower ballads heard on Monochrome Blue such as ‘come over x’.
The EP opens with the title track, ‘Oh My Mind’, kicking off the project with punchy synths and echoing drums. This makes the track feel like a slowed down version of ‘Jump’ by Van Halen covered by The Killers. The strutting, upbeat tone of the song purposefully juxtaposes the lyrics’ focus on more serious themes of mental health and the pressures on young people today. The standout lyric: “I’ve always been a bit neurotic, but this is taking the piss,” encapsulates the song’s dig at young people’s tendency to use humour to deflect the larger, more critical issues which they may face.
The second track, ‘Don’t Wanna’, shifts to a rockier sound, still maintaining powerful themes of youth and anxiety as the song addresses concepts of fierce desire and lust for a close friend. Lyrically reminiscent of emo and pop-punk tunes of the early 2000s, the track is one of the more raw and untethered songs on the project, featuring intimate, passionately delivered lines such as: “Don’t wanna be your friend / I wanna sink my teeth in your neck instead / I wanna touch you till your face turns red,” and “I wanna taste blood / Even if I have to plead / A chemical flood / But friends don’t make each other bleed”.
The pace of the project then winds down a little in the atmospheric third track, ‘Islands’. Driven by a catchy, Two-Door-Cinema-Club-type guitar riff, ‘Islands’ flaunts modernlove.’s indie rock identity. The track’s grooving bass lines and shimmering production techniques place it in one of the most up-and-coming new genres of the 21st century: aspiring FIFA songs. With a focus on dying relationships and fractured homes, ‘Island’ features frank lyrics such as: “I don’t know what to say when my brother asks: / Is it his? / Is it hers? / Are we moving house?” showcasing how modernlove. get straight to the heart of their songs in their lyrics. This strength is also much in evidence in the next track, a bopping love song, ‘Follow You’. ‘Follow You’ continues Oh My Mind’s focus on the raw power of young emotions, addressing themes of infatuation at the start of a relationship, mimicking intense emotional connection with huge, echoing guitar riffs and heartfelt vocals ranging from fiery and roaring to delicate and smooth.
The fifth track, ‘Familiar’ provides a laidback, almost RnB like break from the intensity of the rest of the project, introducing a short, but sweet, cut-up bass-driven breakdown in the middle of the song, providing an undeniably catchy moment of clear cut, pure modernlove. pop. The overarching themes of intense young emotion are carried over, with ‘Familiar’ addressing the urge to return to an ex in times of trouble. Written from the perspective of a lost soul reminiscing about a once true love, the lyrics encapsulate the danger of those rose-tinted beer goggles that accompany returning to an ex saying, “Oh shit I really wish I’d’ve stayed home / And you look so familiar / I think I’ve realised I miss everything about you”.
Returning to modernlove.’s signature indie pop sound, the penultimate track, ‘Us’, provides a final taste of what makes modernlove. who they are. Their earliest written song, the track is a self-proclaimed blueprint of the band’s music, and if you want a taste of typical modernlove. at their best, ‘Us’ would be just that. The regular catchy guitar riffs, the driving bass and the bright, unstoppable drums accompany ever-chantable melodies carrying lyrics of lost love and heartache into the air, all while a vivid image of a hundred sweaty bucket hats, hands in the air forms in your mind.
The end track of Oh My Mind brings modernlove. far closer to dance and pop club tunes than indie music, featuring heavily processed vocals, garage-style drums and blaring synth stacks. Certainly, the most stand out track on the project is ‘Take my head’. This is an adventurous song for the band, going into a heavily swung middle 8 halfway through that drives back into a repeated distorted chorus section that builds up with more and more throbbing bass all the way to the end of the track. While ‘Familiar’ could be said to provide the EP’s most relaxing point, here modernlove. close their project with all the power and intensity of an abruptly slammed door.
All in all, modernlove. say exactly what they mean in Oh My Mind, aligning with a new generation of indie pop as they maintain classic guitar sounds, pop synths and to-the-point lyrics. But this EP offers even more by branching out into new territory and successfully infusing some elements of other genres such as RnB and garage into their established pop song blueprint.
Featured image: Dan Harris
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