Miracles of Modern Science on paper is as follows: A Princeton-bred, Brooklyn-based quintet making music with a combination of not-your-typical-rock-band string instruments (violin, cello, stand-up bass, mandolin) without an electric guitar or synth in sight. The clever and impressive degree to which this indie chamber-pop group pulls it off can be seen on the band’s YouTube page (covers of “Call Me Maybe” and “Pumped Up Kicks”, as well as the Bon Iver-ization of Bon Jovi) or in the mere 16 minutes of MOMS’ brief follow-up to 2011’s acclaimed Dog Year.
After hearing that they are indeed “Princeton grads and a string quartet”, frontman Evan Younger confirmed they are, “sadly, yes,” really that nerdy. We’re reminded of this on “The Singularity”, a catchy pop tune about, oh, just nano-cyborgs enslaving the human race (“Our evolution is underway, and it’s exponential / There’s no reason to be afraid”). The cheekiness continues in the title of the intricate instrumental album closer, “Physics Is Our Business”. “Dear Pressure” is the plucky gem of the album, pleading for a windows-down summer drive. It provides something more relatable for those who aren’t taking MIT classes on computer science in their spare time, as Younger sings of underachievement atop an infectious and sprightly arrangement.
Power and fragility battle the way only classical instruments can on “Don’t You See?”, and the 19 seconds of “Breather” are a shot of pure melancholy. While these are valuable moments for the avid listener or for those whose musical preferences happen to lean toward strings, it’s the rest of the EP, which airs more on the poppy and approachable side of Dog Year‘s standout “Moms Away!”, that best accomplishes the convergence of these particular instruments and the indie rock of today. A guitar might get this group a seat at the cool kids’ table a little quicker, but Miracles of Modern Science are doing just fine on their own side of the cafeteria.
Essential Tracks: “Dear Pressure”