New Brunswick rocker trio Modern Chemistry has traveled the nation’s festival circuit playing shows at SXSX, South By So What, Riot Fest and nearly every bar, basement and venue in the N.J. area.
They’ve taken the opening act spots for many lineups including those with Mayday Parade, and are heading out July 14 – August 1 alongside Everytime I Die and Taking Back Sunday.
With an arsenal of EP’s under the band’s belt, one of which, Dreaming Adjacent, was produced by Taking Back Sunday front man Adam Lazzara, Modern Chemistry is finally debuting their first full-length album. Recorded by Paul Leavitt (The Dangerous Summer, Have Mercy), “Everything In Gold” chronicles past mistakes, regret, goals and growth, and was released on July 7.
The band’s moody pop songs take a deeper turn with this album, showcasing a relatable vulnerability from Joe Zorzi (lead vocals, guitar). Backed by Brendan Hourican (guitar, vocals), and Jesse Slachman (drums, vocals), Modern Chemistry puts check marks in the guitar-heavy pop rock and contemplative indie genres as an impressive multi-tasking unit.
Similar to bands like Have Mercy, Turnover and Taking Back Sunday, this trio isn’t afraid to let listeners know that their path to this point hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows. It will, however, only go up from here. If “Everything In Gold” is any indicator, Modern Chemistry is concocting the perfect potion for successful sales in the music biz. Perhaps even, a nice shiny gold record.
The title track begins the album, with an ear-pleasing, melodic buildup to ease listeners in with distant vocals and a lowly finger-picking guitar. “Pretty Death” is the ever-so-relatable love song about lost love.
We lost it all, but what a pretty death it was. We lost it all, I’ll do my best, the best I can to let it go.
“Tripping Over You” certainly reveals an influential Taking Back Sunday vibe, as well as a similar sound of Turnover’s sappy vs. happy contemplative rock. Falling for someone is a scary thing, and sometimes it leaves you broken, down and out. Even, in the depths of a broken heart, there is a tiny bit of solace knowing that someone else can relate to heartbreak – Modern Chemistry is your shoulder to cry on. So quit wallowing up, and just let “Tripping Over You” be your rescue.
How about you walk away now, I need this so I can let go now. I can’t keep tripping over you, no I can’t keep feeling down. No I can’t keep falling over you, no I can’t keep you around.
“St. Rain” is a style the band has been wanting to experiment with for a while now, according to Zorzi. With a Kings of Leon feel, the track has a tinge of steel guitar, and a clearly repetitive chorus.
There’s a reason I’m the person I am. There’s a reason for those long nights in bed. I’m the reason you can break down those walls. So tear down those walls and tell me you’re sorry. Won’t you tear down those walls and tell me you’re sorry. Oh I keep blaming the rain.
“Fever Dream” continues on the album’s journey of downs, losses and melancholy. This time, delivered with quieter, higher-ranged lullaby-like vocals. The two-minute-and-thirty-second track reminds you of all the sweet-nothings and tender moments a couple shares together. Then, you guessed it – it all falls down.
How did I lose you? Why did I lose you? How can you say you’re somehow better off where you are? How can you say that you won’t let me down again – like before?
This is one of those songs where it cuts you deep, and you can’t help but feel for the person who wrote it, and in turn, the person who hears it and realizes they are the inspiration behind it. Either way, it stings, in the most beautiful, harmonious salt in the wound kind of way.
“It’s Been a While” is the most radio-ready hit, a far more upbeat and bouncy track compared to those prior. The texturized sounds created a morose mood before, but this track brings back a feeling of optimism, and hopefulness. A shift in outlook has occurred, and chances are by now, you’re a fan of the band too.
“Tradewinds” rounds out Modern Chemistry’s “Everything in Gold” with the band’s heaviest song on the album. The louder vocals and dense guitars will make for the perfect mosh-pit-worthy track during a live show setting.
The album as a whole, showcases a carefully-crafted storyline; which can best be listened from beginning to end. That being said, each track certainly has enough potential to stand on its own. It’s a hard thing to do, but Modern Chemistry has founded the perfect calculation and balance of moody lyrics and hopeful soundscapes. They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but “Everything in Gold” is the real gem here.