Monster Movie: self-titled

Jason Thompson

Monster Movie

Monster Movie

Label: clairecords
US Release Date: 2001-04-10

Prepare to be washed away. The music contained on this EP will certainly change your minds about that whole Britpop franchise. Monster Movie has brought something strangely familiar to the table. Dense, scary songs that give the finger to the current musical landscape that screams of number one hits, glossy production, and the need for a video. These are songs to be played in your mind, tunes that bury themselves deep within the darker recesses of your psyche.

People speak of how great My Bloody Valentine was. Well, they truly were an exemplary group but they never got around to do anything after Loveless. Monster Movie not only picks up where that sonic fury left off, but it continues to mold the style in an ever-changing and twisting mix of shoegazing buzz and haunting melody. Comprised of Christian Savill and Sean Hewson, Monster Movie's seeds were sown back in the groups known as Eternal and Slowdive. If you're unfamiliar with those groups, don't worry. The music on this EP will snatch you right up from the first note.

The opening "Crash Landing" is easily one of the best examples of dronepop that I have heard in a long time. As the sheets of guitars fall freely, the vocals wrap up everything in a nice melodic package. The story of the snowstorm depicted in the verses adds a sharp stab of dense lyricism that wreaks equal majestic havoc with the music. "Where you gonna find me?" pleads the chorus. As the guitars scatter into a phased effect, we are only left to feel loss albeit in a beautiful sense of the term.

"Every Time I Wonder" shifts the landscape slightly, offering a catchy and remorseful pop tune filled with all sorts of shimmering sounds coming from what, exactly? Are those keyboards or guitars set up to sound like keyboards? It's hard to tell when the notes ring out like a bell and then dissolve into dense white noise and then are silenced completely to give way to the acoustic and electric guitars. Sheer sonic bliss. Bliss quickly drowned in the creepy, slightly psychotic tones of the instrumental "Rovaniemi". The first time I heard the track, I was sitting in my car at a long red light and kept looking back in my rearview mirror at the empty road behind me. I was transfixed by fantasies of the slowly approaching traffic turning into some sort of monster that would swallow up everything in its path if that light didn't turn green soon. Closer the cars came, louder the music built. And then the light went green and I narrowly escaped. As I said, this is music to imagine with.

Then back to the placid and calmer soundscapes offered up by "Street Lights". Strummed reverberating guitars and more lyrics about forgetting. Close your eyes and see the hotel that is mentioned in your mind. Is it run down? Is it ritzy? Is it from 50 years ago or now? The song roars and purrs all at the same time. Transfixing the listener with its hypnotic qualities. There's the tune folding into a piercing note of feedback and then returning to its wash of droning six strings. But the clearest moment comes in the closing number "Ooby" where the production suddenly opens up a crack and the notes are allowed to float through the air. It's as striking as anything else here. This is pure music unburdened by any flights of fancy or starstruck ego.

Accordingly, Monster Movie will be releasing its first full-length album later this year. If this EP is any indication of what the group can ultimately do, then the album will certainly be essential. After the final notes of "Ooby" fade, we are only left with wanting more. Five songs just wasn't enough. The EP is successful and has mesmerized us perfectly. It's something you should own if you enjoy being literally moved by your music. I know I do.

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