If you weren’t splendidly hirsute when you started listening to Monomyth‘s Further there’s a good chance you will be by the time it riffs and swirls to a close.
Unless you’re of the lady persuasion, in which case you may find your lower chakra emanating Gaia-spirit vibes at a harmonic rate likely to knock unwary magpies out of the sky. For the chaps though, it’s a facefuzz thing. Log-splitter beard or Erik ‘tache, Monomyth’s muscular take on architectural Twin-Neck Gibson and Hammond jams stimulates those follicles with the fecund bounty of a well-mulched compost.
Compost! Aha! A writerly smooth linkage there (a segue, if you will) to an obscure jazz-rock-jams unit from back in the polyester 70s whose deceptively loose-sounding circular wig-outs come to mind on listening to Further. There is the same soothing predictability of the repeated guitar riff, building in intensity until, destablizing the pattern (and the listener), a new melodic or harmonic feature interrupts and takes the jam elsewhere. (Either that or, Animal-like, the drummer leaps into a seductive gap and goes a touch bonkers.)
Compost then, come to mind. As do the jerky folk-prog instrumental moments of Syd Arthur, the meatier folk-prog grunt of Caravan and the rambling stoner-jams of Grateful Dead concerts. (Imagine! They had post-rock way back then too!) In fact, so tip-of-the-tongue referential is the psych-rock combo of overdriven valve amps, wheeling organ, fluid bass licks and whomping gated kickdrums that much cerebral chafing was occasioned amongst the listening Trebuchetistas.
‘Ooh, it’s a little bit like Zep. No, it’s more like Deep Purple… no, hold on, that bit’s far more Who… graghhhahhh!’
Trebuchet’s music writers collectively scratched our newly-becarpeted chins and tried to pin it down.
Hawkwind, said chief rockwriter Tim Hall, duly nailing it exactly on first listen. (If the medium of email is not yet capable of conveying a longsuffering colleague’s wearied eyeroll, this is as close as it has come so far.) Yes indeed, Hawkwind it is, right down to the gusty keyboard swells, reel-like lead guitar figures and crescendo-borne power riffs building seemingly unstoppable momentum until they, well, stop. Abruptly. And then start up again at even greater intensity and you find your rapidly bushing eyebrows are now obscuring your vision. Powerful stuff. And not a vocal or lyric anywhere.
Not that it’s all like Hawkwind. ‘Spheres’ shimmers high-register tremelo guitar chords around a torpid hi-hat beat all underpinned by a slouchy bass lick. It builds, back off and meanders, all the while given depth of soundfield by organ accents and syncopated snares. Chafing cerebrally once again, it sounds like, oh… Pink Floyd. You know? That Pink Floyd track that’s all wangy guitar and slouchy two-bar bass licks. You know? The really tedious one. Bit overblown and up its own arse. Overproduced. Goes on too long, has grumpy Gilmour doing a really irritating mockney drawl on it. Makes you wonder if your turntable’s running slow.
OK, that doesn’t quite narrow it down.
Money. That’s it. Pink Floyd have lots. Or more appropriately, ‘Money’. The Pink Floyd song. Anyway, ‘Spheres’ sounds a bit like it. Some listeners will see that as a good thing. Those who don’t can take consolation in the brooding discords and accelerating dynamic that lifts the track out of the comparison and into a tie-dyed lavalamp world of its own.
Elsewhere, there are discernable echoes of dub reggae as well as differently tuned Indian subcontinent aesthetics ghosting the compositions. If guitarist Selwyn Slop’s (yes, really) foundation riff on the final track is a tad overworked by the time the album plays out, we can let that go. With only four songs on the 45-minute release, it’s fair to say that the themes and progressions on each get well explored. But here, that’s a virtue. Further is nothing if not indulgent, but as noted on the interview/tour diary that accompanies the release, this is music made to indulge.
Fans rock with it, eyes closed, wallowing in the unctuous grooves and astral sci-fi textures. If it’s not startlingly original or new, it’s excused by being very accomplished. Monomyth’s own promotional rubric is spot on: ‘Instrumental Space Kraut Stoner Rock from the Netherlands’.
Succinct and accurate, without a patronising neckbeard digression anywhere.Monomyth
Sean Keenan used to write. Now he edits, and gets very annoyed about the word ‘ethereal’. Likely to bite anyone using the form ‘I’m loving….’. Don’t start him on the misuse of three-dot ellipses.
Divides his time between mid-Spain and South-West France, like one of those bucktoothed, fur-clad minor-aristocracy ogresses you see in Hello magazine, only without the naff chandeliers.