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.
- "Telling Nobody" MP3
We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work as independent cultural critics and historians. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where costs have risen and advertising has dropped precipitously. We need your help to keep PopMatters strong and growing. Thank you.
// Notes from the Road
"Saul Williams played a free, powerful Summerstage show ahead of his appearance at Afropunk this weekend.READ the article