October 27, 2004

Monorail "A Whole New City"

I don't know what the story is about DC-via-Florida band The Monorail, but I really would like to learn more. This Jacksonville-based foursome has just released A Whole New City, which I am assuming is their debut, and it's an interesting, if not wholly satisfying, collection of fresh new sounds. It's quite clear that these guys have some major pop druthers, and it's also quite obvious they're quite fond of le Indie Rock, but they have enough talent to blur the lines between those styles, and they do so with very little effort.

Seriously, though--it's rare for such a young band to sound this..this...TIGHT, especially on their debut. These guys have some great singing (think Clem Snide's Eef Barzelay meets Dismemberment Plan's Travis Morrison, if you must), their rhythm section is top-notch and always on the beat, and there's plenty of hard, crunchy guitars--so soundwise, they're quite varied. From the tight, funky rhythm of "The Shizampah" to the mellowed out dance beat of "The Club" and the jazzy "Writing Has No Volume," these guys clearly prove that they can deftly take on--and master--fast-paced rockers and mellow ballads.

Normally, I'm not keen on emo-ish rock, and there are moments here and there that kind of edge towards that direction, but thankfully they move away from those murky waters quite quickly. Though The Monorail's sound is great, I'm also a little bit antsy about the singing. While Andy Matchett occasionally sounds a lot like Braid/Hey Mercedes' Bob Nanna, it's not a problem that makes me dislike their music. There's also a really, really cool Dismemberment Plan-style vibe running through the entire record, most obvious on "Writing Has No Volume." Making this song even more interesting is that it was written in 1998, and though I have no history of this particular song, I can't help thinking these kids beat Travis to the punch.

I'm impressed by this little record. The Monorail's a great little band, and I think it's time you help out a great little band by checking these guys out. You'll enjoy this little record, and there's enough evidence that their forthcoming album, A Thousand Reactions is going to be brilliant.

--Joseph Kyle

Label Website: http://www.milquetoastrecords.com

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