Modern Rifles - I Was Young, It Was Dark (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Modern Rifles

I Was Young, It Was Dark (2008)


Modern Rifles feature an ex-member of defunct Pittsburgh punk act Teddy Duchamp's Army (a predecessor to Voice in the Wire), but the better point of reference is their hometown, San Diego. Their style is purely SD-centric indie rock, occasionally calling to mind hints of predecessors like No Knife and Drive Like Jehu.

With their debut, I Was Young, It Was Dark, Modern Rifles wield a sound that seems straightforward on the surface but employs lots of little flairs to mix it up. Their guitars are never corrosive enough to be described as jagged, but I wouldn't say it's clean playing, either -- an interesting middle ground, rather.

"Feck Me If I'm Wrong, But Is That a Ham Sangie in Your Hands?" is one of the first major standouts, with an effective quiet part in the bridge and then punctual backup shouts of "Next time, you'll feel better!" driving the song home. Another notable is "Manbird," where the textures vary a bit more, the stop-starts hit harder, the riffs are generally more interesting and there's a great ebb and flow about things.

While something is largely missing on I Was Young, It Was Dark, the pieces are definitely in place. If you liked bands like the Valley Arena and Bullet Train to Vegas, you might want to give this a try. A super promising debut, though I'm more looking forward to what's coming next.

Feck Me If I'm Wrong, But Is That a Ham Sangie in Your Hands?
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