One Sat­ur­day after­noon last Decem­ber I made my way to east Lon­don venue Stu­dio 9294 for Fire Records’ chilled, friend­ly Christ­mas event called Out­er Lim­its. With a ros­ter of about sev­en per­for­mances, it unex­pect­ed­ly turned out to be one of my top gigs of 2019. One of the new (to me) bands who were an inspir­ing dis­cov­ery were Scottish/Lancashire hybrid Mod­ern Stud­ies – I spoke to one of the band mem­bers as they packed up their kit and was delight­ed to find out they were com­ing back to per­form in 2020, along with the advent of their new album.

That was then, before our world was oblit­er­at­ed. The tour will have to wait but we do have the glo­ri­ous new Mod­ern Stud­ies album called The Weight of the Sun. Like the band’s live set, the songs are a sin­u­ous mix of folk with ele­ments of psy­che­delia, pop and prog, and all com­bined with the shim­mer­ing vocals of Emi­ly Scott and Rob St John. 

The open­er, Pho­to­graph, is 4 mins 17 sec­onds of dreamy ‘down in the woods’ mys­ti­cal folk, I’m remind­ed of Ste­vie Win­wood and Traf­fic. The fol­low­ing track Run for Cov­er opens with that dri­ving Fleet­wood Mac propul­sion; it is also a per­fect song to ful­ly appre­ci­ate the warmth of Emma and Rob’s vocals which are very much at the fore­front. One of the lush­est tracks is Broth­er, with its dri­ving bassline and swoop­ing, rich vocals. 

Anoth­er track which I find myself lis­ten­ing to on repeat is Back to the City. It has those folky ele­ments but as it gets into its stride there’s so much more going on to ramp up the ten­sion, espe­cial­ly with the drums adding to the depth of this smokey num­ber. I’m look­ing for­ward to see­ing Mod­ern Stud­ies on their next tour, when­ev­er that may be.

The Weight of The Sun – Mod­ern Stud­ies; Fire Records

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