Sound Advice: All The Things We've Been Told by the Modern Superstitions
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Sound Advice: All The Things We’ve Been Told by the Modern Superstitions

Every Tuesday, Torontoist scours record store shelves in search of the city’s most notable new releases and brings you the best or sometimes just the biggest of what we’ve heard in Sound Advice.

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Much has been made of the just barely out-of-adolescence make-up of of the majority of the members of Toronto’s Modern Superstitions. On their attitudinal new EP, the childhood friends capitalize on the fire of youth without resorting to pastiche to achieve a sound far older than their ages.
All The Things We’ve Been Told is a fast-hitting mix of Motown swagger and Pretenders spirit that takes no time at all to establish its strategy. From the amped-up beat of opener “Go Between” (streaming to the right) and the intricate guitar and bass interplay, it’s a wonderfully jacked new wave intro for singer Nyssa Rosaleen’s straightforwardly sweet vocals, which themselves waste no time showing off their duality; as the song launches into the chorus, Rosaleen dips into a scratchy, throaty growl that never outdoes itself as more than a subtle little snap in the surface.
This is used to even better effect on “Visions of You,” where the sparse, sort of dark bass-driven verses belie the chorus. What starts as an “ooh-ahh” whisper quickly (thankfully) turns into a satisfying punk-worthy anthem, with everything but those vocals once again all but hiding in the background. If there was one moment on this EP where a little more, shamelessly bigger guitar feels like it’s missing, it would be here. Otherwise, the lines are kept minimal and clean, lead and rhythm nearly indistinguishable, instead weaving themselves all Talking Heads–like into a bigger part of the whole sound.
Kudos must be given to the producer Patrick Pentland (of Sloan fame), who keeps this sound very consistent and focused and also probably had something to do with the tiny country-pop lean in “Everything Is Not Mine,” not altogether different than some of his own quieter pop ballads from Sloan’s catalogue.
The combo power-pop progressions and post-punk angles of “Beck and Call,” a standout on the EP, highlight that these flavours, while decidedly intentional, are also expertly restrained, something that can be said about All The Things We’ve Been Told—and the young band—as a whole.

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