4 December 2012
Monsters of Folk - Monsters of Folk
A supergroup - a very dangerous prospect for most musicians. Whilst you have been deemed to be a success on what would be referred to as your "day job" band, it does not mean your side project will be as well received or even as good (being well received and good are two different things - trust me). So when Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis of Bright Eyes, Jim James of My Morning Jacket and M. Ward of She & Him as well as being a successful solo musician decided back in 2004 to form the Monsters of Folk, just because they were enjoy praise and reverence with other projects it did not really mean this would be any good.
It has took me three years to actually build the nerve to listen to this. Not because I doubt the bands abilities. Many people have tried the supergroup and failed. Neurotic Outsiders, The Firm, Zwam, Super Heavy to name a few. But then you have the supergroups which work - Cream, Them Crooked Vultures, Me First & The Gimme Gimmes, Black Country Communion, Crosby Stills Nash & Young. So what pot have these guys fallen into?
Firstly, lets look at the music itself. As American as an a rigged election in Florida, apple pie, New York City Cops and as the car chase in the film Bullet - this album takes country and folk and give it a new twist. This band does not want to take you to the mosh pit. This band wants you to go to the country fair, have a dance, drink some of that weird liquor out of the stone jars that do not melt, maybe go to the barn for a lay-down with someone and have a good time till they see you again. They could also be seen in a hipster bar but they would stick out like a sore thumb by actually being approachable. From "Dear God (Sincerely M.O.F.)" they set their stall out and make enough variation to keep your feet tapping along. Slow burner "Slow Down Jo" with it's peddle guitars is just a dream state which I am surprised has not been remixed for the trance/Ibiza crowd or been on one of those sunset compilations - but in a good way. It is the type of song you'd want to here at that time of day. "Baby Boomer", "Goodway", "Say Please", "Map Of The World" - I could name each song and I want to make a description of each but that would take away the joy for people hearing it anew. There is moments on here which should be placed in a vault for future generations of musicians. The second thing is that this does not make me wish to listen to the separate groups from which these men have came from. It makes me want to listen to more music from this group.
In a way it is such a basic album. The path they tread here has been walked down many a time - but just because it feels slightly familiar does not mean it is boring and dull. Sure it is not the most exciting of records in the energy and pace, and I will admit at it maybe could have shaved a few songs so there could have been an EP to keep people wanting more, but these are just small things that all music geeks who are outside the project sometimes get in their head - hell, I started a blog just to let this sort of stuff out of my head!!! - the album is a joy, a wonder and something that I would recommend to anyone who wants to have a relaxing musical journey towards the Barn Dance off route 66.
So - a supergroup that actually live up to the name and can join the league of Cream, Vultures, etc, etc. Truly a monstrous and great records.
9.5 out of 10 - Almost perfect....Almost
You can purchase from here
You can listen to it on Spotify here
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