Fret not, Ontarians; despite the Leaf’s outright terrible performance this year, Toronto has much more to offer than just bad hockey. Enter the Modern Superstitions, Eastern Canada’s answer to Mother Mother and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Produced by none other than Sloan’s Patrick Pentland, this short EP (clocking in at a mere 20 minutes) is a fun, casual romp through indie music’s recent history. The music is solid all around, but despite being a relatively new band, Modern Superstition’s sound seems dated. Is the indie formula slowly withering away? Not quite. Simply put, All These Things We’ve Been Told is the EP that sounds like every other EP—but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Bands today face the gruelling challenge of sounding unique. Many new acts are automatically described as ‘generic’ or accused of lacking any originality. Many will make the mistake of judging the Modern Superstitions far too quickly; “Go-Between,” for instance, begins with a typical indie pop riff, jumping into typical indie pop lyrics, and so on and so forth. Despite this opener, the album rapidly expands into something far more diverse and tangible. Nyssa Rosaleen delivers wonderfully catchy vocals that almost mimic Karen O at times. The guitar, drums and bass are all standard—nothing new or groundbreaking, just clean, well-played and solid. The band is highly melodic, but yet so derivative. Finally, at the end of the short ride, “Mercy Line” comes across and delivers a shocker. It’s easy to say that the Modern Superstitions saved their best effort for last—the closing track is teaming with great guitar-play, fantastic drumming, rhythmic bass lines and an amazing vocal performance.
As expected, lyrically the tracks are witty yet devoid of any real depth or imagery; Rosaleen sings that she’ll “Be the girl between / For this modern love” and “The lines we draw are / The lines we cross;” nothing but simple phrases to fill the album up. Not that this is a bad thing. The Modern Superstitions utilize simplicity to avoid clutter.
Even though they’ve established a sound, the Modern Superstitions still need refinement. Despite plenty of talent, they just feel cliché and, blatantly put, typical. All These Things We’ve Been Told is merely a beginning, though; a sort of landing pad for the future. What is now a new-born band will soon grow and mature into something far more diverse. The Superstitions have their foot in the door.