Adelaide rock band Mode have a curious claim to fame; their debut gig was the first gig to be cancelled in the South Australian Covid lockdown. Left in isolation with time on their hands, the band set about recording their set instead, bouncing overdubs between houses to craft a modern take on power pop. Three years later, following a series of sell-out gigs and further sessions at Wizard Tone studios, the band have released their eponymous debut album on local label End of the Pier Records.
Songwriters Rich Miller and Marc Garnett are both indie veterans, having toured Australia and Europe with various indie pop bands before meeting and forming Mode in 2020. Along with Paddy McGee on keys, bassist Colin Chapman and drummer Derek Leinweber, Mode filter classic Britpop and power pop through an Australian lens.
Rich works his writing and guitar style from teenage idols, Jimmy Page and Pete Townsend along with the groove and vibe of bands such as The Ramones and The Small Faces. The aforementioned combination and the love of vintage-inspired guitar tones drive the songs into a swirl of rock/pop goodness. “I just love all those old 60s bands and the guitar sounds they had, that teen attitude and angst. The “Fuck you, establishment!”, in-your-face mindset gave us what we have today.”
Marc is obsessed with the two sides of 90s Britpop: the Beatles/Oasis/Shed Seven strummy rock side, and the post-punk inspired, arty Blur/Sleeper/Pulp/Mansun side. “For me, Mode is about the massive, power pop side of Britpop, taking in everything from The Jam to Oasis to Dodgy to Australian legends such as Even and The Fauves. It’s all about grabbing a guitar, singing the best tune you’ve ever sung and going nuts with it. At the same time, I love the fact that the music flows out of the band with an Australian flavour. Rundle Mall comes from wanting to write a song about Adelaide instead of the endless songs about Liverpool and London.”
Derek’s drum-kit frolics are driven by the syncopations of the pop-punk band Hole. “I just love the energy their drummers bring to the music. They’re the anchor that glues the brilliance of the band into something astonishing.“ Derek also emphasises his Canadian roots, bringing ideas from bands like Simple Plan and Sum 41 to the Aussie power-pop scene. “You can hear this in songs like Bad Thing and especially The Sun. Celebrity Skin is all over The Sun.“
Having had an insufficiently misspent youth, Paddy’s musical muse stems from the likes of Rick Wakeman, Pink Floyd, and Sky, watching rock music on the ABC in the 70s, and the mainstream synth revolution of the 1980s. Many youthful hours were spent overdubbing various now-vintage keys onto four-track cassettes. Whilst Britpop is not known for its use of wild synth explorations, he brings the variety of sounds that keys provide to that rare beast – a band with a full-time keyboard player.
Geordie bassist Colin has toured regularly in Australia and the UK. His punchy, melodic bass runs are the perfect blend of McCartney and The Stranglers. Brought up on a cocktail of British Rock and New Wave Punk, he was inspired by the likes of Cream, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, UFO, The Stranglers and The Jam. He joined the band after a chance meeting with Rich, whereby they discovered a mutual admiration for original Britrock music, and, as they say, the rest is history.
Just don’t call his pint a Puff!