It was brought home to singer Phillip Intilé just how much of a mark Mode Moderne is leaving on its fans when a girl in Serbia sent him a photo of her new tattoo, which was a quote from the lyrics of the Vancouver band’s song ‘Real Goths’.
Mode Moderne has been inspiring such acts of devotion since it put out its debut LP, ‘Ghosts Emerging’, in 2009. That was followed by the group’s first release for Light Organ Records, the ‘Real Goths / Undiscovered Country’ single, in 2011, and the seven song mini-album ‘Strange Bruises’ last year, earning praise from the likes of Pitchfork and NME.
Since then the band consisting of Phillip Intilé, Clint Lofkrantz, Sean Gilhooly, and Rebecca Gray have worked hard building their following with tours in the eastern US, UK & Europe.
Mode Moderne recorded its new album, ‘Occult Delight’ with producer Joshua Stevenson (ex Jackie O Motherfucker, Pink Mountain Tops), at Otic Sound in their hometown, Vancouver. The departure of Felix Fung, band member / producer for previous albums, hasn’t radically altered the essence of the group, which has always struck a balance between black-nail-polish gloom and indie-pop accessibility.
That’s certainly borne out on ‘Thieving Baby’s Breath’, where spare, driving verses give way to lush choruses, with Intilé’s sonorous, soaring vocals buoyed by washes of synthesizer and a drum machine pulse.
Another highlight is ‘Baby Bunny’, which sets some of Intilé’s most bitingly sardonic lyrics to a gorgeously melodic mope-pop composition reminiscent of Morrissey and Marr at their best. The lyrics to that song, and to many others on the album (‘She, Untamed’ / ‘Time’s Up’), are markedly aggressive and cutting, offering a more cynical take on interpersonal relationships. “The spears are pointed outward rather than inward on this record,” Intilé admits.
For proof of that, look no further than ‘Unburden Yourself’, which opens with this devastating lyrical dismissal: “I don’t mind your indifference/In fact I want a bit more physical distance.”
Now that would make a great tattoo.