The Constantines - Modern Sinner Nervous Man EP (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Constantines

Modern Sinner Nervous Man EP (2002)

Suicide Squeeze

The Constantines are getting the best kind of hype. Sure, every rock snob, industry watcher and indie scenster up here in Canada sings their praises, but based on their self-titled debut album and now this EP its all very deserving. The Cons are commonly described as the offspring of Bruce Springsteen and Fugazi. They play atmospheric rock songs with post-punk arrangements and plenty of soul as they intertwine moments of moody silence and frantic instrumentation. Their debut album lined up intense post-hardcore tracks alongside acoustic country tunes and nothing sounded out of place. Here on their follow-up EP, they play up their Clash / Social Distortion influences, leaving the soul and country experiments to the more accommodating habitat of their next full length.

"Dirty Business" is among the band's best material and a great opener. Singer / guitarist Bryan Webb's growl is out in full force as the band squeezes as much energy and emotion as they can from each note. As loud or soft as The Constantines can get they maintain their unique momentum in each song. Guitarist Steve Lambke (I believe) takes over as the main vocalist on the layered "Underneath The Stop Signs," with Webb's distinctive vocals floating in the background. "Blind Luck" is the quintessential Cons track, bringing together all their influences, energy and style. The Springsteen-inspired vocals soulfully lead into a fantastically distinctive and original punk-rock song. The band captures their frantic live show as the tempo accelerates and their arrangement builds. Each song is full and well developed, making this release a fantastic introduction to the band as their first official US release.

The Modern Sinner Nervous Man EP perpetuates the band's stroke of brilliance but ends all too quickly. Such is the case with three song EPs though, and is forgivable when the tunes are so strong.