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Monsters of Folk

October 12, 2009

monstersoffolkIf you haven’t heard, the life of the supergroup in music is alive and well. With this most recent incarnation indie rock gets it turn in the limelight. The Monsters of Folk combine the story telling skills of the talented Conor Oberst (of Bright Eyes), the guitar and vocal stylings of Yim Yames (also known as Jim James, lead vocalist and guitarist of My Morning Jacket), the producing skills of Mike Mogis (multi-instrumental producer of Bright Eyes, Jenny Lewis, and Rilo Kiley), and the song writing and guitar of M. Ward (the He part of She & He). Each an incredible musician on their own accord, the combination of them creates an incredible “must buy” album for any indie rock fan.

I first heard Monsters of Folk first single ‘Dear God’ some time ago. I must admit I wasn’t totally sold. I could appreciate some of the playfulness of combining a harp and soft vocals with a simple and slightly dirty drum track. But I didn’t love it. Then listening to ‘Morning Becomes Eclectic’ on KCRW I heard “Whole Lotta Losing” and my opinion completely changed. I instantly fell in love with the song, and decided to check out their album. Ever since I don’t think it’s left my iTunes playlist. All of the songs are well written and contain strong lyrical nuggets throughout. They also flex their musical muscles by showing a full range musical styles. Ranging from the folkish “The Sandman, the Brakeman, and Me”, to the surf-rock inspired “Whole Lotta Losing”, to bluegrass inspired “Man Named Truth”. All of the songs contain excellent production power, strong vocals, lyrics, and an overall mastery of music that you can expect when all of these talents combine. An excellent album from first song to last, with incredible replay potential.

Some of my favorites include, “The Sandman, the Brakeman, and Me”, “Ahead of the Curve”, “The Right Place”, “Whole Lotta Losin'”,  “Baby Boomer”, and “Temazcal”.

In summary I give this album two thumbs up. Sometimes when you combine so many musical talents the result isn’t a smooth taste. But the sonorous landscape these four create is deep, well written, and extremely well produced. Resulting in a rich and wonderful album you can’t go wrong with.

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