Who? The Modern Strangers
A bit about: Forming a band with your brother can often be a turbulent ride (Gallaghers, Jarmans, Grimeses, I’m looking at you) but things seem to going pretty well for Max and Archie Davenport who head up this plucky 5-piece from Tunbridge Wells. They’ve been making waves across the country since their first release towards the end of 2016, playing an almost non-stop string of shows and even finding their way onto the Radio 1 playlist. In a rather bizarre turn of events, their track Margarita topped a list of 786 songs judged by an algorithm as the most ‘chart-like’ in a BBC Four documentary last year. Yes, it’s a strange accolade, but its pure science, and you can’t argue with that.
Sure enough, their heady mix of analogue leads with punchy guitars and soaring falsetto is infectiously fun and funky as hell. In particular Coco Hello and She’s so Cold sound like made-for-radio instant hits, evoking a gleeful noughties nostalgia whilst simultaneously feeling fresh and exciting. Courtesy of The Modern Strangers, the mid-2000s era of indie synth pop is making a comeback, and I’m over the moon about it.
What to say: “Teenage synth pop for grown up indie rockers”
The formula: Passion Pit + Empire Of The Sun x Foster The People + The Strokes + Nile Rodgers/2
The releases: Latest single Nothing on You was released at the beginning of May, joining five more released over the past year or so, each more lively and vibrant than the last.
Birthdays, Dalston – 01.05.18
It’s always risky going to see a band that you know nothing about, but The Modern Strangers was a great reminder of just how well it can pay off. Despite having heard only one of their songs before (/en route to) the gig, every track felt instantly familiar. Playing a free show at Birthdays in Dalston (fast becoming one of my favourite spots to discover new music), I suspect I wasn’t in the minority, but the initially tentative crowd got right on board pretty quickly and the band were soon playing to an audience of freshly converted super fans.
The Modern Strangers manage to cram a myriad of soon-to-be hits into a relatively short set. They are incredibly confident performers and crucially they sound great. I know I’ve enjoyed a gig when I find myself listening to the band on my way home, and they have taken pride of place on my main playlist ever since. Incidentally, I’ve rarely had so many “Who’s this!?” replies to my Instagram story, which is either my social media echo chamber in action or proof that these guys have real mass appeal. I hope there is plenty more music to come; there could be truly great things on the horizon for The Modern Strangers.
See them yourself: Find them at a handful of festivals this summer, including The Great Escape, Latitude and Standon Calling.