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New York Cool - Music

Moms AKA
Miracles of Modern Science
Union Hall
Brooklyn
August 12, 2009

Written and Photographed
by Lara Longo

Opposite Photo:
Kieran Ledwidge


MOMS is not an organization for expectant mothers nor is MOMS a quirky new improv group. Rather, MOMS is Miracles of Modern Science, a self-described “Civil War string band shot into outer space on a giant disco ball spaceship.” And evidently, as per their set at Brooklyn’s Union Hall, this profile is spot on.

Evan Younger
Evan Younger

 

The marriage of pop aesthetic and orchestral foundation has been en vogue for the latter part of the 2000s, just ask Andrew Bird, Sufjan Stevens, or the crop of newcomers on the crest of the trend. Yet contemporary string ensembles are quick to craft solemn, minor-key constructions, not venturing far from the archetypal chamber group model. Luckily, there’s MOMS: equal parts cosmic, major-chord blast and eerily melodic murk.

The Brooklyn-based five-piece took stage—three sporting identical green headbands—in front of a hometown crowd. Union Hall’s wallpapered strangeness provided a fitting background for MOMS’ uniquely dynamic set. Pairing Boyish charm and skillful musicianship (the latter probably honed at Princeton, where they formed), they plowed through a rousing program of plucky, mid-tempo jams, some provoking violinist Kieran Ledwidge to jig and others, to shred.

There was the deep hum of cello on “Eating Me Alive” and the staccato ping of mandolin on “MR2.” There were swirling harmonies and earnest headbobbing. Multitasking vocalist/upright bassist Evan Younger interspersed the set with his quiet, unstated brand of wit. Further lightening the mood, he would go on to lead the bunch in “Didit,” a part spoken word, part mock grandiose odyssey. MOMS gave their encore (“acoustic but with drums and amps,” Younger quipped) and departed as politely as they arrived with a few new jigs under their belt.



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