In recent years the music scene of the Pacific Northwest has seen an increase in bands whose styles can’t be fit into a specific category. In most every side of the spectrum you’re seeing bands experimenting with different styles, taking bits and pieces from a wide variety of influences and rearranging them to create their own unique sound. New genres are taking shape, and one of the bands that are starting to get attention for their originality and unfiltered style is Seattle’s Absolute Monarchs.
If you’ve been following the music scene in Seattle in recent years it’s hard not to take notice of the Monarchs. They’ve been sharing the stage with acts such as Red Fang and Cold Cave and were even mentioned in Spin magazine as one of the 6 bands from the Northwest you need to know about. Their style is noisy, drenched in feedback and overdriven guitar tones yet they maintain a pop element in their compositions that’s generally lost on bands that may be described as noise rock. Their debut full length album appropriately titled, “1” displays their ability to write riff based songs that are both disorienting and catchy that will remain in the back of your head long after you’ve listened to them.
The album starts with blistering feedback that gives way to a steady verse that builds to shouts of the songs title, “Attack!,” released like a battle cry and setting the tone for the rest of the album. It continues on its’ destructive path with “To Hell, Let’s Masquerade” and “Bad Taste” the vocals ranging from clean, melodic tones to impassioned yells that feel almost anthemic. I found myself singing along to “Fell in line”, the next track on the album which opens with a driven bass the breaks into one of the most catchy guitar riffs on the album, reminding me of some strange hybrid of Sonic Youth and late 90’s punk rock. “Thinking thieves” was the highlight of the album for me, the way the song presents a wall of sound set to a half time drum beat had me head banging as hard as I would at any metal show. The album stays consistent from here on out, “It’s Bad”, “Sharp” and “Hide it well” flowing together with the same level of intensity right into, “Bled Out”, whose chants of its title placed above a cloud of tastefully fuzzy guitar tones and heavy cymbal crashes draws the album to a close. “1” is a hard hitting, well arranged debut with enough contagious riffs and lyrical hooks to expand the Monarchs audience exponentially. Keep an eye on the guys, they’re going somewhere.
Filed under: Album Reviews