Modern Hut – Generic Treasure


Rating: ★★★ · ·

It’s interesting that Joe Steinhardt should title his latest album under the Modern Hut moniker Generic Treasure.  For most, the word generic seems to mean basic and ordinary, but when combined with treasure, it seems like the enjoyment from this record has basically been hiding right beneath our nose the whole time; seems fitting.

One of the things that immediately came to my mind when I first pressed play is how similar Modern Hut sounds to Adam Green‘s solo work.  The affair opens up with “Mid Tempo,” using a little bit of self-deprecating humor to revel in the mundane quality that often overcomes life.  But, while the guitar work and attitude are similar, I think one of the things that makes Generic Treasure (beyond AG comparisons) so successful is the brevity of the songs.  Only a few of the tracks branch beyond the realm of the three-minute mark, making them easily digestible and not overbearing, despite the similarity of sound.

I think perhaps the most successful song, however, comes with a bit of differentiation.  Sometimes the record seems to stay in one place, and not deviating too far, except for when you come to “Life.”  This track features vocal interplay between Steinhardt and Marissa Paternoster of Screaming Females fame.  Her dynamic voice is perfectly juxtaposed against the relaxed attitude of Joe’s delivery.  It’s a good spot, sequencing-wise too, as it breaks up a bit of the monotony.  For me, it’s the standout track.

Initially, I was head over heels for Modern Hut, and for all intents and purposes, I still quite enjoy the album as a whole; it just has to be taken in doses.  Joe’s defeatist attitude, apparent throughout most of the songs, does wear you down, so it’d be nice to see what lyrical territory he might venture into for future releases.  Admittedly, this seems to be on his mind too, as he closes out Generic Treasure with “Moving On.”  While the song seems to refer to a significant other, it could also hold an alternative meaning, indicating that we should all move on.  And in the end, I think that’s the message that really resonates with most listeners.  We’ve all found ourselves in a similar situation, surely, so the songs are definitely relatable, making the record something we can all immerse ourselves into from time to time.

My two cents is that Modern Hut‘s record is worth your time.  It’s not going to blow you away; it is a Generic Treasure, after all.  But, the songwriting is enjoyable, the lyrics are clever and Steinhardt does have a kind voice. You’ll go back to your record collection after shelving it for a bit, you’ll pull this out, and you’ll find yourself enjoying it all over again.  It might be a generic, but it’s something many people will find as a treasure.

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