Goodbye Theodora

by Changing Modes

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1.
Mind Palace 02:43
2.
3.
Door 02:27
4.
Arizona 02:57
5.
Sharkbird 02:27
6.
Wasted 03:23
7.
Too Far Gone 03:56
8.
9.
Firestorm 03:54
10.
11.
Vigilante 02:57
12.
Dust 05:52

about

REVIEW OF GOODBYE THEODORA

"Another Darkly Brilliant Album and a Webster Hall Release Show from Art-Rockers Changing Modes"

How many bands or artists have put out seven albums as strong as New York art-rockers Changing Modes’ catalog? Elvis Costello, sure. But the Clash? No. The Doors? Nope. Pink Floyd? Maybe. The Stones, or the Beatles? That’s open to debate. What’s clear is that Changing Modes deserve mention alongside all of those iconic acts, a distinction they’ve earned in over a decade of steady playing, touring and recording. Their latest release, Goodbye Teodora, is due out this Sunday. They’re playing the album release show on March 26 at 6:45 PM at the downstairs space at Webster Hall; cover is $15.

Changing Modes distinguish themselves from their many shapeshifting, ornately psychedelic colleagues around the world in many ways. They’re one of the few art-rock acts fronted by a woman. And they’re dark. Co-leader Wendy Griffiths’ sharply literate lyrics and allusive narratives are as intricately woven as the band’s musical themes, and they keep their songs short, seldom going on for more than three or four minutes. The lineup on the new record is the same as their previous masterpiece, 2014’s The Paradox of Traveling Light. Griffiths switches between keys and bass, joined by guitarist/bassist Yuzuru Sadashige, multi-keyboardist Grace Pulliam and expert drummer Timur Yusef. The album opens with the uneasy Mind Palace, part scampering circus rock-tinged anthem, part jagged King Crimson. It’s a characteristically intriguing, enigmatic number that could be about a robot, or not a robot: “He is a hoarder of broken memories, a savage mistake, a victim of technology.”

Griffiths’ hard-hitting piano and Pulliam’s swooshy organ fuel Amanda’s House, a vivid and wryly detailed portrait of a goth girl which also might be satirical – consider the song title. Sadashige’s sharped-edge, steadily stalking guitar builds to menacingly anthemic proportions throughout Door, a creepy study in suspense. Yusef’s tersely boomy Middle Eastern percussion in tandem with Sadashige’s sparse crime-jazz lines underscore Griffiths’ crystalline, nuanced vocals in Arizona: southwestern gothic doesn’t get any darker than this.

Sharkbird is a dancing surf rock instrumental in the same vein as the Slickee Boys’ psychedelically creepy adventures in that style. The surrealistically elegaic Wasted shifts between dub-infused reggae and catchy, windswept orchestrated rock. The brooding, dynamically shifting Too Far Gone – not the Emmylou Harris classic but a co-write with rising star indie classical composer Denise Mei Yan Hofmann, who also contributes guitar – comes across as a mashup of Throwing Muses grit and allusively dark Invisible Sun-era Police.

With its flickering electric piano, moody Middle Eastern guitar, tense flurries of drums and a majestically wounded Sadashige solo midway through, the album’s title track is a requiem:

Goodbye Teodora
Hello to my emptiness
Over time you’ll be inclined
To give it all a rest

Likewise, Sadashige’s unselfconsciously savage, distorted lines contrast with Griffiths’ stately piano throughout the metrically tricky Firestorm. The allusively Beatlesque symphonic-rock anthem Chinese Checkers explores power dynamics via boardgame metaphors. The album’s most straightforward track, Vigilante, has grim political overtones. The album winds up Dust, a vast, ineluctably crescendoing postapocalyptic anthem. We’re only in March now, but this could be the best rock album of 2017, hands down.

delarue - New York Music Daily (Mar 23, 2017)

credits

released September 12, 2019

1. MIND PALACE (Griffiths)
2. AMANDA’S HOUSE (Griffiths)
3. DOOR (Griffiths)
4. ARIZONA (Griffiths)
5. SHARKBIRD (Sadashige)
6. WASTED (Griffiths)
7. TOO FAR GONE (Griffiths/Hofmann)
8. GOODBYE THEODORA (Griffiths)
9. FIRESTORM (Griffiths)
10. CHINESE CHECKERS (Griffiths)
11. VIGILANTE (Griffiths)
12. DUST (Griffiths)


Wendy Griffiths: keyboards, vocals, bass
Grace Pulliam: vocals, percussion, keyboards
Yuzuru Sadashige: bass, guitar
Timur Yusef: drums, percussion, electronic percussion

Guest artist:
Denise Mei Yan Hofmann: guitar on track 7

Songs arranged by Changing Modes

Recorded & mixed at the Seaside Lounge, Brooklyn, New York,
July - September 2016
Recorded & mixed by Jon Altschuler

Mastered by Fred Kevorkian

Album cover design & photographs by Yuzuru Sadashige
Band photograph by Duane Harper Grant

All Songs by Wendy Griffiths/Plague of Twins Productions (ASCAP)
except Too Far Gone by
Wendy Griffiths & Denise Mei Yan Hofmann/Plague of Twins Productions (ASCAP),
Sharkbird by Yuzuru Sadashige/Plague of Twins Productions (ASCAP),

Produced by Changing Modes

Special Thanks to:
Sylvia Griffiths, The Sadashige family, Don Lawrence, Duane, Hsia-Jung, Jeffrey Jacobson,
Jan Kagarice, David, Ben, Don Fast, Denise, Yuko, Harumi, TJ, Willy, Louise Neko

in memory of Kazuo Sadashige

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Changing Modes Brooklyn, New York

Changing Modes leap from one radically dissimilar style to another with gusto, guile and a tunefulness that won’t quit. Blending classical flourishes, punk energy, playful and clever lyrics that draw on 80s new wave and a ubiquitous element of surprise, every time you think you’ve got them figured out, they drop something new on you." -Lucid Culture ... more

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