- 28 Jan 19
ATHY’S FINEST RETURN WITH ANOTHER BATCH OF ARENA-READY ANTHEMS
It’s fair to say there aren’t many – if any – Irish artists of the modern era, who’ve made such extraordinary strides so quickly as Picture This. Successfully battling the odds – and occasionally the musical snobs – since making their bow with the iPhone-filmed video for ‘Take My Hand’ in 2015, their remarkable rise can only be described as a fairytale for the social media age. Now, the Athy outfit’s vowel-shunning second LP, MDRN LV, sees them beginning an exciting new chapter.
On one level, change is in the air: Picture This now shape up for photos as a four-piece. This is a band. So, on MDRN LV, we get a bit more of that feeling of a collective working together to create a great noise. And yet, so sure has their rise been to date that the old adage might have been applied: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. So, while there are interesting new sounds and ideas in evidence, for the most part, this album smartly relies on what made Picture This a sensation to begin with – big catchy hooks wrapped around relatable lyrics and delivered with a great melodic instinct.
Co-produced by Jayson DeZuzio – who has twiddled knobs for the likes of Imagine Dragons – MDRN LV is a more confident and expansive beast than their triple-platinum debut. Clearly, the band have been emboldened by their ever-growing success. Featuring 12 tales of love, break-ups and parties, the record is a treasure chest of hits just waiting to happen.
Opener ‘Modern Love’ sets their stall out strongly, as it marries ’80s pop with bleeding edge, 21st century production. It’s swiftly followed by the crowd-pleasing big ballad ‘If You Wanna Be Loved’, which boasts a killer hook. If you want to get sentimental, this is the way to do it. ‘Nevada’, meanwhile, is a ready made anthem: it’s the kind of song Gary Lightbody would’ve written had he grown up listening to Justin Timberlake, rather than Sebadoh and the Super Furry Animals.
Elsewhere, Picture This flirt with country on ‘Someone To Hold’, a duet with Aussie songstress Cxloe that could help them crack the American market. A rallying cry against the often fake world of social media, with Owen Cardiff on lead and Cliff Deane on bass playing their part to the full, ‘Life Of The Party’ is perhaps the group’s best song to date. Fans are certainly given plenty to chew on with lines like, “I can’t be the life of the party/ Can’t carry on being heartless/ I’m better off being honest/ Or I get hurt.” The ‘Eye Of The Tiger’-style verse and the fuzzed-up guitar are the coup de grace. In conclusion: take that, difficult second album syndrome! This one’s a winner.