The Modern - 53 Degrees Preston 2.2.06

Relaxed, laid back, pint in hand. My few moments of calm crumble away like dust as a Marilyn Manson type figure dressed up like a bizarre hybrid of Willy Wonka and the child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang suddenly appears, points his cane at the crowd and bellows in French like a deranged ringmaster. It's only when this nightmarish creature of the night disappears backstage that my palpitations stop and the Modern make their entrance, rendering my thoughts of escaping through the nearest exit obsolete. To quote M People "they're indeed a sight for sore eyes". Four impeccably well groomed young men with fashionistas haircuts to envy, all in natty suits bar the guitarist who rebels against the sartorial elegance with a Distillers T-Shirt and a defiant glint in his eye, were all born to be on the stage and the piece de resistance is the uberbabe chanteuse Emma Cooke.

Picture if you will a young Debbie Harry dressed by Alison Goldfrapp (an image that will help most men get through the cold winter nights), a black basque over a black top, short frilly skirt, stockings and suspenders adorn this vision of physical perfection. With ruby red lips, blonde hair, gleaming teeth and sparkling eyes she oozes sensuality.

The Modern are pop and proud of it, but they're by no means throwaway like, say the fictitious (or are they?) Kandyfloss with a K. Amongst the 80s style synths which put you in mind of The Human League, Gary Numan and to some degree Kraftwerk there's an edge reminiscent of post punk. Cooke had a vocal style very much like a mid-80s Madonna, but without her trademark nasal whine. Songs about Tokyo Girls and Seven Oceans had the two lads in the band singing along dramatically. New single "Industry" released on Feb 20th could be the song to take the Modern on Top Of The Pops. It's fantastically addictive pop, credible enough to appeal to the serious indie crowd and catchy enough to pick up the ears of Kylie and Sugababes fans. It's even more glorious than their last song which scraped into the Top 40, "Jane Falls Down".

They even dedicate a song to Smash Hits on the day it was announced the magazine was to fold proving that there isn't an ounce of musical snobbery in the band. It may only be a brief thirty minutes on stage, but that's long enough to witness one of the most promising bands of 2006

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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