The Retaining Wall
21st December 2012
Some would have you believe (once again) that this sounds like a Prestwich based band (yawn!!) – tired and lazy reviewers please wash out your ears and listen again. It sounds like Monster Island – admittedly it sounds like the band have been hanging around the Lower East Side around the time of no-wave at certain points………
Once again the razor sharp lyrics of Stephen Waddicor are in full flow on the latest release from the utterly wonderful Monster Island. A new rhythm section obviously means a new feel and this is fairly up front by track two “The Theme of the Evening” which is a funky little bugger with a nice backbeat which wouldn’t have been out of place on a record from New York in the early 80s, apart from of course Stephen’s dead-pan delivery and some angular breaks.
“Citizen Spy” was on some compilation album earlier in the year so it’s relatively well known, and reflects back to the earlier sound of the band to some degree but there is something a little more intense and unrelenting about this iteration – we are back to the funky feel with the riffy “Banned from the Library” which would have even the most jaded lotus eater up from their couch and doing the frug.
On a fair few tracks the drums and the guitar are in some sort of manic rhythmic unison – this is fairly obvious on the title track which slows the pace and worries the listener into quaking wonderment with its’ mix of in your face driven scratchy noise and restrained and brooding quieter bits – and heaven forfend there is almost a guitar solo at the end!
“Ferris Wheel” was released a few weeks back and takes a nicely acerbic look at Manc City Centre – apart from the fact the big wheel outside Selfridges has now gone of course. Again wonderfully rhythmic. Similarly the stunning “Ether WIP”, with it’s tension wracked changes of pace, was pre-released and to me sums up the band perfectly. “Book of Beasts” introduces a new feel for the band with a surging pulse, walls of guitar and an insistent hi-hat sound. Another pre-release the excellent “Shaking Hands” gets back into that high tempo funky back-beat sound – all scribbly guitars and a parless delivery from Stephen. Matters are slowed slightly for the moody “Flattened” which builds around a bass riff and then takes off into a signature Monster Island aural attack. The closing “Zoom, Zoom, Zoom” is a glorious reaffirmation of the quality and unique feel of this band – a marvellous riff, driving rhythms, and chord changes that reflect the rich history of garage music.
I think it’s bloody marvellous , and it sounds nowt like that other band.
It sounds like Monster Island – which we should be grateful for.
You can get a physical copy for £3 via the Bandcamp page.
Anyway – you can check it out yourself ….. I suggest you do ……