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Album Review
Crude Futures

Crude Futures
by So So Modern


Review Date
12th April 2010
Reviewed by
Ryan Eyers

After several EPs, hundreds of live shows and years of anticipation, So So Modern’ debut album is here. While you’ll perhaps excuse them for feeling the pressure, considering their hallowed indie status, especially in Wellington, Crude Futures sees them breezily shrug it off and create a debut filled with their renowned energy but also displaying remarkable diversity and depth.

One of the coolest things that’s immediately apparent about the songs on Crude Futures is that they feel cohesive, comfortably forming a single voice and feel, despite the fact that each track brings new surprises and sounds. The instruments also feel harmoniously in sync, helped by the fact that they were all recorded together, giving the arrangements an organic, flowing feel, something that is missing on the more roughly recorded EPs.

Opening with taut number ‘Life In The Undergrowth’ Crude Futures immediately signals the intent of the album: to continually confound expectations and explore new sonic territory. That’s not to say that SSM have ignored their historic strengths, and as if on cue the band hit right back with the pairing ‘The Worst Is Yet To Come’ and ‘Dendrons’ songs that echo the band’s past with a strengthened sense of purpose. Having sometimes been unfairly pigeon-holed as a ‘party band’ So So Modern proceeds to branch out into more introspective and soothing territory, producing one of the hidden wonders of the record, the dreamily beautiful ‘Dusk & Children’, before subsiding into ‘Holiday’ which provides one of the most euphoric moments of the album with its intoxicating mix of interplaying guitars, seriously tight percussion and quirky synths. Elsewhere, ‘Berlin’ practically writes the book on building and releasing tension while ‘Island Hopping/Channel Crossing’ adds jangling math-rock to the checklist of well-executed explorations of new directions. Closer ‘Give Everything’ completes the package with heartfelt cries and a gentle releasing finish that feels like the band’ exhausted sigh of satisfaction.

Overall, Crude Futures really sounds like an album, a singular piece of work, humming with a concerted togetherness and brimming with different ideas, sounds and approaches. On top of that, it feels like the band are secure and confident in both their experimental abilities and songwriting craft, as they should be, something that strengthens the album as a whole. Crude Futures is a brilliant album that packs everything we could have hoped for from So So Modern’ long-awaited debut, as well as mixing in some wonderfully unexpected delights that elevate the album and give it a rich depth and diversity.


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