The opening guitar attack of Modoc’s new album, Automatic + Voluntary, wakes you up like a splash of ice cold water – sounding like Mission Of Burma, then spinning into a perfectly executed glam-styled chorus.  So that bodes well for the sophomore effort for this band who originally hail from Muncie, Indiana but have since relocated to Nashville.    Catchy, taut, driving and powerful – there’s very little room to catch your breath; this is all a very good thing.  What’s more is that this full-bodied aural assault is coming from a three-piece, but they make it sound fuller and fatter.  Chops, well-crafted songs and harmonies are certainly the order of the day here.

As I said, the first warning shots come straight from “Black Eyed Lover”, which is an inspired choice for the album opener; “Kids On The Run” starts off with a descending guitar figure which sounds oddly like The Beau Brummels’ “They’ll Make You Cry” but then picks up intensity and throttle and “Always The Same”, while a slightly slower tempo is tense and crisp and uses a very subtle and tasteful synthesizer “wave” underneath the guitars.  “Told You So” is about as perfect a power-pop track, styled in the ’70’s, complete with roller-rink organ, a memorable riff and handclaps and “Out Of The Blue” is a percussion-fueled magnum opus with some stellar backing harmonies.

Ten songs that will keep you paying attention and then playing on “repeat”.  Yes, this album should be automatic and voluntary – voluntarily listened to over and over again.


Automatic + Voluntary will be released Friday, February 5th, 2015

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About the Author

Rob Ross

Rob Ross has been, for good, bad or indifferent, involved in the music industry for over 30 years - first as guitarist/singer/songwriter with The Punch Line, then as freelance journalist, producer and manager to working for independent and major record labels. He resides in Staten Island, New York with his wife and cats; he works out a lot, reads voraciously, loves Big Star and his orange Gretsch. Doesn't that make him neat?

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