As I noted in a July review of Modern Kin, the Portland trio has undergone a very interesting and encouraging transformation.
Formerly three-quarters of Drew Grow and the Pastors’ Wives, the slimmed-down group has adopted a sense of urgency that was, in my view, missing in its former incarnation, a band known for a ragged punk gospel sound. Modern Kin is a more severe iteration, serving up leader Drew Grow’s quavering, impassioned vocals over tight, impactful instrumentation from Jeremiah Hayden on drums and Kris Doty on bass.
I didn’t say so at the time of the review, but I wondered whether Grow’s relationship with former Sleater-Kinney drummer Janet Weiss had something to do with the change. Weiss knows something about honing sprawling passion into a devastating punch. Turns out I was right. The credits for the band’s first single, “Abandon,” as well as the its upcoming debut full-length (out Oct. 22) both list Weiss as the producer. Whatever the impact of the relationship on the music, “Abandon”—a fever dream of a song built around a Grow’s poetry about desperation, love and isolation—proves that the band is doing something right.