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Review – Modern Day Zero "Coming Up For Air" (2004) June 25, 2008

Posted by rawkfistmusic in 2004, Modern Day Zero.
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Written by Andrew “Gravity” H.

Sadly these days, it seems many under-the-radar bands hit so many ups and downs that they inevitably crack and break into tiny little bite-sized band pieces. Such is the sad case of Modern Day Zero, the little St. Louis band that could that announced an extended hiatus late last year. Starting as lowly little band called Mesh, and then Mesh STL, this band worked it’s way to the top with local gigs and fair amounts of radio play. Their songs would go on to be used in EA Sports video games, and after the name change to Modern Day Zero earned an unsigned artist of the year award. Coming Up For Air is the band’s first album under the MDZ moniker.

“Somebody tell me what the fuck is wrong with me,” exclaims frontman Scott Gertken as the album begins with the heart-pounding “Sick Inside.” This opener throws itself into your speakers at lightspeed with a catchy electronic intro before cutting right into things with catchy riffs and a chorus that’ll get any crowd singing along. The opening tracks for Coming Up For Air are some of the strongest on the album. From the aformentioned opener, to the mellow-then-hard “Smother Me”, to the powerful and catchy single “Broken”, this album snags the listener immediately in a sea of rock and roll fury.

The CD loses speed with the next few tracks. “Way Out” is a fairly generic modern rock song with no real style or substance to it, although the chorus will find it’s way into your head as soon as the song is over. “Nothing’s Ever Fine” follows that track as a slowed down ballad which features cricket chirping for ambiance, or perhaps it was inspired by crowd reaction to the song. This tune fails to gain much attention and seems like an odd choice for a slowed down ditty. Thankfully the album picks up speed with next track “When You Lie” an anthem for those who’ve been on the wrong side of some untruthiness.

“Down” is a good song that should have been put higher in the track listing, as it’s one of the albums stronger tracks and is one of the songs that got MDZ their mainstream attention in the first place. “It Don’t Matter” loses points for being grammatically awkward and generic in every way, and “Rise” pretty much follows suit. Modern Day Zero does get the ballad thing right with “Clear Day” however, a moving track with the best lyrical value on the disc. “Concentrate” ends the disc on a low note though, another failed attempt at a ballad suffice to say.

Modern Day Zero does a lot of right with Coming Up For Air. The vocals are intense and empowering, and match the instrumental quality and writing to a tee. Sadly, MDZ’s lyric-writing could use a little work, as many of the songs suffer from shallow themes and generic rock syndrome. It’s worth mentioning however, that the album is as addictive as nicotine, catchy from start to finish. Though MDZ doesn’t do a whole lot to seperate themselves from the pack, they’ve compiled a choice list of rock and roll anthems, and short of a few failed slow numbers, makes a pretty solid album.

7 out of 10

Download This – “Broken”

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