Monster – Life Science
This import sports 10-old-school cuts on a debut CD by the Swedish band Monster led by enigmatic Olov Lundberg who explores upscale American rock & dabs at classic rock. Obtainable online.
The opener is the melodic & strong performance of “Bridges of Glass,” which recalls the wonderful more progressive folk of the 70s before it became a little bombastic. However, this CD doesn’t go full throttle. Instead, they take care to construct ideal melodies with sensible lyrics vividly demonstrated. “When The Winds Bent The Grass,” is filled with varied sounds that steam out of its enticing flavorful pot. It’s well-recorded with many instruments that combine to catch the ear. From the contemporary, electronic & traditionally acoustic.
Olov’s voice is wonderful with “On My Way,” as he treads confidently down into a pure country-rock idiom & with skill. Olov’s warm countrified voice & acoustic guitar accompanied by a drone of lead guitar the song is James Taylor effective, John Denver clever & it somehow encompasses this musician’s own signature sound with his reinforced vocals. The melodic bounce of a purely Americana genre. I’m impressed. This will goes on replay.
“Spacechild,” continues in a folk-rock manner without getting too spaced out. It’s a no-frills arrangement performed in a somewhat parlando style. Again, the band manages to piece together attractive instrumentation throughout its simple melody.
Life Science (Drops Sept 30–Paraply Records) is nourished by an impassioned attempt to keep a generous shine on an old genre as performed by this incisive group which gives the music its new redemptive gloss on its skin.
The Swedish sung “Skogens Man,” (The Man of the Forest) is a thrilling Americana-rocker with electrifying lead guitar, infectious melody & first-class vocal by Olov. It’s all done in the tradition of the more literate progressive rock groups that dabbled in traditional music (Jethro Tull, Fairport Convention).
None of the music is heavy-handed, isn’t hard rock but it is a stew of tasty morsels of genre interpretations cleverly updated with inventive arrangements tethered to rock.
“Into the Sea,” is already a new classic on my playlist. “Explorer,” – is dramatic, steady & sharp as a saber with an emphasis on melodic appeal & prowess. The guitar grinds exceptionally well & it isn’t something you hear too often in today’s limp angst-ridden rock attempts. Olov sings with authority like Jim Morrison, John Lennon & Ian Gillan. And I’ll take that any day from any country.
Olov’s “Save Me,” is excellent & competent. The band pulls back just enough to avoid falling into a ponderous, pretentious progressive rock quagmire.
It’s a faithfully-based exuberant showcase that’s entertaining, as much as interesting.
B&W photo courtesy of Hemifran. CD @ https://www.moenster.se/en/