The difficulty of buying music for my wonderful husband can be divided into two areas.
- He doesn't like being told what music to listen to (as previously mentioned). I dread hearing the phrase "Well... it's alright" when I've paid my money and made a choice for something I thought would be right up his alley.
- He buys it first. I don't know how many times I've been gazumped by him proudly bearing home a CD I've already earmarked for a gift in the lead-up to Christmas or his birthday. And I have to smile while mentally swearing loudly.
But in this instance, I was surprised to find he wasn't even considering buying Monsters of Folk, even though the review I'd read of it made it sound like it had YourZ written all over it. In fact, I even tried to hide the Q magazine the review was in, burying it under a pile of stuff on the kitchen table so he wouldn't take it into his head to give himself a little Christmas magic while shopping for others.
The best part about it is, I love it too! *does little happy dance* It's another one of those albums that offers a range of different styles, but all well-crafted, tuneful songs that just make you feel happy when you listen to them. From the kitchen to the living room to the car, this CD fits just about everywhere I/we listen to music.
VERDICT: TURN IT UP
It's kind of weird but the three albums I've been most impressed by in the last few months have ostensibly been created by super-groups of a sort, these being The Dead Weather, Them Crooked Vultures and this band, Monsters Of Folk. The first two I actively sought and bought myself. This one, however, turned up as a Christmas gift from Mine.
I'm usually resistant to anyone else buying me music but Mine, despite her pop-diva delectations, does generally have good taste. (Mine says: high praise indeed...) But she did better than good in selecting this disc, let me tell you. It's become a firm favourite when I need a break away from my hard rock yearnings of late.
Featuring Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis from Bright Eyes, Jim James from My Morning Jacket and M Ward from She & Him, MOF have tailored a suite of songs that gets better with every listen, as far as I'm concerned.
With the exception of Oberst, I'm not familiar with any of the rest of MOF's individual careers. Of course, I've heard of My Morning Jacket and M. Ward but like a lot of music around at the moment, it all kind of blends into one big mushy mess and I can't be bothered trying to wade through it all to sort out the good from the crap. I'd rather spend my time actively seeking out music I'm interested in and know will suit my ever-increasing standards.
The opening song, Dear God (sincerely MOF), could confuse the listener, with its trip-hop loops and scratchy beats. I was really excited when I first heard this track because it led me to think the rest of the album might be similar, which would be something truly different for the players involved. But it seems as though MOF were merely teasing us, because for the rest of the album, they moved back to their most creatively comfortable territory. It's here, in their new folk rock/American stylings, where they harmonize, complement and truly shine.
The one thing I've learnt from this is there's still room in my musical palate for new styles. Also, the mushy mess I spoke of earlier is now a lot less bothersome. I'm off to listen to some M. Ward and My Morning Jacket. At least I'll be familiar with the voices.
VERDICT: TURN IT UP
For more information: http://monstersoffolk.com/