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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
The Monolith
Here Comes the Monolith
Fortune Records

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
Admittedly and maybe shamefully to some, pop music is one of my guilty pleasures. Not the bubble-gum pop that Britney and her fellow Mousketeers churn out for the tweens and teens, but the upbeat, happy, guitar driven pop that would fit better on local college radio stations. I raise my hand as one supporter of the change the Promise Ring made when they released Very Emergency, a pure (albeit short) pop album. I love me the Dressy Bessy, lavish myself with shoegazer pop like Velocity Girl, and completely love Stairwell's The Sounds of Change (an undiscovered pop album for many I'm sure). And so along comes the Monolith, another pop band with a new pop record.

While being an adoring pop lover, it is also very rare to want it all the time. It is often a saccharine treat too gooey, the German chocolate cake that ruins dinner and spoils your appetite for hours on end. And the Monolith don't vary from this. The palm-muted guitars on "43" show promise, but then the synths and fuzzy guitars break in and Here Comes the Monolith signals its beginnings as a catchy, not quite new, sound. Is this a bad thing? In the case of this album it certainly is not, as the Monolith prove over and over that girl/boy vocals and a love of oldies can take one far nowadays.

"Heart Like a Diamond" would have easily fit into the Beatles Sgt. Pepper's album (blasphemy to say, but where would any music be without the Beatles), with vocalists Dahlia Ramirez and Bill Rousseau working to blend harmonies over beautifully instrumented trumpet, trombone, and flugelhorn. "Ruby" begins like a lost Beach Boys track from the Pet Sounds sessions, and melts into a beautiful blend of strings and drums, with all other instruments fading to the background. Wonderful stuff. The album closes with the three part "Trilogy", broken into three separate movements, each distinct from the next. "Never Mind What You Heard" shows a quieter hushed side, as the acoustic guitar made me ask "Is this on one of my Byrds albums?", but quickly gives way to the rock of "A Foreign Exchange" and the final act "Once You've Been to Paris" winds down like a track from Abbey Road, frenzied guitar and drowning horns.

The Monolith have taken a tried and true formula, found on any oldies station, and have made it work. As debut albums go this is a great start and fits in nicely with more recent pop like Beulah and Dressy Bessy, as well as paying fine tribute to 60's acts like the afore mentioned Beatles and Beach Boys, leading me to wonder when someone is going to do a decent tribute to Chuck Berry?

Reviewed by Jake M. Rizy
A contributing writer for LAS who lives in Arlington, Texas.

See other reviews by Jake M. Rizy



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