So So Modern
A cross between a small town theatre and a school stage production, there’s always been something delightfully intimate about the Scala. It could be the fact that no matter where you stand you get a half decent view of the gig, or that the front rows are close enough to lick the bands’ faces. However, smaller venues like this can often stifle, stymie and muffle sound quality in a trade off for close, sweaty proximity. Thankfully the Scala gets it right more often than not and tonight is no exception. The last night of their European tour, New Zealand’s So So Modern show little sign of road lethargy in a set of bruising, angular synth-heavy post-rock. Enlivened and invigorated by stabbing electronic blasts and a double vocal bark, it’s the cold, calculating insistence of tracks like ‘Berlin’ that put the hairs on edge and the blood into the eardrums. On record So So Modern might be something of a paradox – a blend of Bloc Party’s shimmering dynamics, post-punk shouted vocals and the towering discipline of numerous math-rock heavyweights – but live, tonight, it comprehensively comes together to make thumping sense.
By Reef Younis
Originally published in issue 15 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. March 2010