A breath of Modernaire
The new single from Manchester’s coolest electro act
More from Jack Cullen
They were a duo, then a trio, and now their press photo depicts a fourth person climbing into shot from a dainty rope ladder. Modernaire (not to be confused with ModernAire - a serious contender in the world of overhead kitchen ventilation systems) really know how to keep the media on their toes.
The first track from these guys to be played in GT’s office was Bloodshed In The Woodshed which featured on a mixtape that Bob received in the post from Sister Phunk. As much as I want to believe that Bob has a sibling with a defunct name, or some underground allegiance with a subversive electro nunnery, it turns out that Sister Phunk is an eclectic forward-thinking French record label, and Modernaire are one of their acts.
You see they love GT in France ever since we fell in love with Dieux De Stade, and generally anything that Max Guazzini makes those big rugby boys of his do. Gay for pay and all that.
So Bloodshed In The Woodshed, with its quite subtle ska punk beat and spooky harmonised vocals, pulls a strange tendon between electro and folk. Of course this is no reinvention of the dance wheel. There’s Feist, Nouvelle Vague, Patrick Wolf and of course Goldfrapp’s Seventh Tree, but Modernaire are a bit glitzier, and weirdly poetic. Lead singer Hannah sounds like Peaches’ politer sister, and possibly Maya from Sohodolls.
Lyrically, lines like “Sharp scythes, rusty knives, bedroom full of beehives” at first connote Noel Fielding’s quirky Boosh crimps (“Tony and his paper castle”), but Modernaire are much more sincere than this. Their music teases the peripherals of beat poetry, perhaps more resonant of Liverpool than their dank hometown of Manchester.
And so a package from roXour arrived this week, not a mixtape featuring Modernaire this time, but a single by Modernaire, all on their own. Team GT pushed the disc into the nearest Apple obediently and waited for these new sounds from Modernaire…
The song is called Faites Tes Jeux. It offers nursery rhyme repetition of quite adult content, the chorus settling quite beautifully upon “He died in my arms, in a casino in Monte Carlo”. You can dance to it quite easily, but the song also demands one’s attention with its, as stated already, poetic lyrics. A cream cheese to Patti Smith’s cheddar, a student newspaper might say.
Modernaire’s website bears the caption “Once upon a time pop was a noble thing”, and it seems that they may well go on to play a crucial part in re-establishing that nobility. French-funded electro is at increasingly untouchable heights now, thanks to the rock solid foundations of Justice, Mr Oizo, Bob Sinclar and yes Daft Punk.
The Hemme Fatale remix of Faites Tes Jeux is particularly strong with its SebastiAn-esque stifling synths.
So now the GT office is waiting for Bob to receive new musical offerings from his techno habit-wearing colleagues in the music industry. In the meantime, I might go out and buy some Modernaire. Yeah.