Saturday 26 June 2010

Album review - These Monsters' Call Me Dragon

Im placing These Monsters firmly in this grouping. It would be easy to say “Oh wow, they are from Leeds, so therefore Brendan will harp on about them.” And here I am, harping on about them. But as Ive stated, Leeds seems to be providing the right atmosphere in the solar system that is the English music scene – but its up to the band to struggle out of the water and onto land, take its first breath – then become the alpha male, marking its territory and baring its teeth to maximum effect. And on their first LP, Call Me Dragon (which Ive been sitting on for a couple months - sorry about the delay!), we see not only that from These Monsters, but a monumental step forward from their admittedly awesome self-titled EP – evolving faster than its brethren – a mutant amongst mere mortals. Apt band moniker then…

Call Me Dragon is brilliant in the fact that it perfectly showcases what you can still do with stoner rock. The infusion of jazz, the stripping of (or sparse use of) vocals, the gargantuan undercurrent of a rolling rhythm section that concertinas perfectly with the inventive growls and rumblings of killer guitarwork – none of it seems put on; all of it seems incendiary, and indeed necessary. Opening with the title track, These Monsters roll on like a World War Two tank, the battlefield your eardrums as the funkified dirge is completed by reverb heavy and deeply disturbing guttural wails. The tempo remains pretty much the same throughout – yet its to These Monsters’ eternal credit that it doesn’t feel monotonous, old or worn in the slightest. The niche cut here is unique, but far reaching at the same time. There is so much to like – I can hardly fault anything here – I really can’t.

But while I can state that being a fan of bands such as Pelican, Isis, Red Sparowes, That Fucking Tank!, Mogwai etc etc etc certainly helps, it doesn’t change the facts. Which are that These Monsters are amazingly accomplished artists; that there is enough fire here to fuel ten thousand armies; their inventiveness and energy pervades every nook and cranny of every song; and ultimately a bruising force of nature – even the calmer moments are brooding, electric affairs, leading the listener to a darker realm before the storm crashes down once more. A fantastic album to kick off an infinitely exciting new act.

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