Miracles of Modern Science are five friends/geeks/goofs making eccentric chamber pop out of Brooklyn, NY. With orchestral chops, playful videos, and a dance-inciting live show that “fosters some serious power” (The New York Times), the band has a knack for winning over any crowd.
Itching for a musical outlet on the buttoned-up Princeton campus, upright bassist/vocalist Evan Younger and mandolinist Josh Hirshfeld tried on different hats as an acoustic duo, spouting country tunes at one gig and demented sea chanteys at the next. They brought on restless musicians from the school’s orchestra – permanently-smiling Aussie violinist Kieran Ledwidge, conductor-by-day cellist Geoff McDonald. With the final addition of drummer Tyler Pines, the group honed in on a brand of string-driven pop rock with nods to the oddball lyricism of art-rock, the intricate counterpoint of chamber music, and the gleaming rhythms of disco and new wave.
Upon moving to New York, MOMS recorded their collegiate compositions and released their debut album, Dog Year.The “must hear” (Paste) LP landed on Consequence of Sound’s Top Albums of 2011 and was featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition, where host Audie Cornish said the album’s opening track, “makes me want to, like, run around in a field screaming. I love that song!” Wired named single “Eating Me Alive” one of the top 100 songs of 2011. They followed the album with a 2013 EP, MEEMS, which The Guardian said “highlights talents becoming rarer and rarer to find in modern music.” Taking a DIY approach, the band supported their albums with self-booked marathon tours across the US, sometimes playing multiple shows a day.
This DIY mindset extends to the band’s videos. Instead of leaning on professional teams and equipment, Miracles of Modern Science record videos in their practice space, a 10×10 white room in Younger’s apartment, substituting charm and creativity for production value. MOMS’ YouTube channel, featuring both originals and covers, hasreceived millions of views and earned praise from Buzzfeed, Stereogum, and The Huffington Post, who called “Bon Joviver,” MOMS’ Bon Jovi/Bon Iver mashup, “the best-executed inevitability on the internet.” Their viral cover of Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” led to invitations to play gigs around the world, including a performance at the Elle Style Awards in Istanbul.
For their forthcoming album – their first with new drummer Serge Terentev, a recent Russian ex-pat the band found on Craigslist after Pines’ departure in 2013 – MOMS transformed their cramped practice space into an even more cramped home studio. Now with unlimited recording time, the band finds itself censoring less and experimenting more. Songs are weirder – one has the sort of spooky string lines you might hear in an old horror movie – or veer toward total pop. Having built up a repertoire of Top-40 covers on their YouTube channel seems to have influenced the band’s own approach to songwriting: new arrangements are streamlined, and vocal hooks are pushed to the fore over increasingly danceable beats. “Swipe” may be MOMS’ catchiest track to date: a groove-driven duet inspired by band members’ experiences with mobile dating apps.
New songs and videos from the forthcoming album will be released throughout the fall/winter of 2014/15.