Guards - Modern Hymns - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Guards - Modern Hymns

by James Weiskittel Rating:7 Release Date:2019-05-24
Guards - Modern Hymns
Guards - Modern Hymns

When Guards first burst onto the scene with their 2013 debut, In Guards We Trust, the L.A.-based band seemed primed and ready to ascend to the top of the indie-rock foodchain. And while things didn’t quite work out that way, Richie Follin & Co. are finally back with their sophomore release, the forward-looking Modern Hymns.

Once again joined by drummer Loren Humphrey and keyboardist Kaylie Church, Follin (who handled production duties as well) has managed to deliver another solid collection of indie-pop gems that, in many ways, rivals the band’s stellar debut. Recorded over a protracted five-year period during which Follin started a family, and fought through some record-label strife, Modern Hymns finds the group exploring a new range of synth-driven sonic textures.

The stage-ready opener “Skyhigh” kicks things off with a bang, as Follin’s anthemic vocals soar above one of the album’s most infectious riffs. Riding a nu-wave inspired drum & bass groove, “Take My Hand” continues to push the dance-hall vibe while the Bowie-esque “Destroyer” really shines a light on Follin’s effortlessly unique voice. From there, things tend to settle into a fun, albeit predictable groove, as Modern Hymns reveals one catchy anthem after another.

But while there are a couple of standout sonic left-turns (like the swingin’ single “Beacon” and the album-closing “Away”) on the album's back half, things do start to bleed together a bit as you come around for the home stretch. That being said, the sense of momentum permeating Modern Hymns is pretty impressive–especially considering its protracted gestation period.

As Guards essentially begins and ends with Follin, it’s clear that the artist is in a very different head-space than he was when the band released their debut. After all, it’s difficult to imagine anyone maintaining a sense of continuity when dealing with a six-year gap. And so it should come as no surprise that Modern Hymns succeeds as not only a follow-up to what was an incredibly solid record but also as a bridge to a promising new direction.

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet
Related Articles
Guards - Modern Hymns - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab
The Willowz - Fifth
  • 09/16/2017
  • By Steve Ricciutti