Given the upbeat '60s-influenced sound on their debut album, their matching brown suits on the CD jacket and their MySpace page, it's not a stretch to guess that the name of San Diego's the Modlins refers to the Mod scene of the '60s.
But "Here's to Being Happy" isn't so much retro as it is informed by the best of '60s pop. Bright melodies, warm vocal harmonies, dual guitar leads sure, the Beatles are an influence, but so are Herman's Hermits. As are any of the classic pop bands since then: Ace and Squeeze and Crowded House.
It's classic pop is what it is. Well-constructed little nuggets of melodic purity with near-perfect arrangements: a jangly guitar bridge here, half-sighed two-part vocal harmony on the refrain there.
Mostly great themes, the kind of songs that you find yourself singing along to the second time you hear them. Songs like the unforgettably perfect opening track, "As Good as Gone," or the '80s Brit-pop influenced "I Might Have Been Wrong," or the jangly title track.
It's the sort of debut you listen to about a hundred times before you can finally set it aside, and then immediately begin waiting for their next album.
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