Onward, Soldiers

Monsters

by Brice Ezell

18 March 2012

 
cover art

Onward, Soldiers

Monsters

(Winoca)
US: 21 Feb 2012
UK: Import

Monsters could have been a disaster. When from song to song I’m wondering what exactly the band is aiming at, I would ordinarily classify the album as scattershot. To some extent, Monsters is; the album opens with jaunty piano pop, then goes into typical rock, then into alt-country, then into country, then into piano balladry. It’s a very sorted affair, and it gives the impression that Onward, Soldiers think genre-hopping for the sake of genre-hopping is a good thing. On most albums it wouldn’t be, but on Monsters the band pull it off. Nearly every track will have you come back for a second listen; even when the lyrics are strange, like on “Cinder Blocks” (“Darling cinder block eyes you put me in a corner”... what?), the hook is so good that you just give up on wondering what they mean and sing along.

The one unifying genre running through the album is country; the snare drum-led outlaw ballad “Living on the Run” and “Cry” are typically country, whereas they veer more towards alt-country on “Carolina.” This does provide some unity to the album’s diversified sounds, but this isn’t a country album with a couple of pop and rock tracks thrown in for good measure. Monsters is an experiment in multiple genres; it plays out like an album comprised of nine great singles. Every track here is memorable, and the album lends itself to multiple spins in the stereo. With a little more focus, Onward, Soldiers could be onto something truly excellent.

Monsters

Rating:

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