Artist: Monsters as Humans
EP: I’ve Been Saving All My Catharsis For Exactly This
Release Date: 5 December 2014
When you look up a band, and their genre is listed as “alternative rock”, there’s a sudden welter of emotions that rapidly occur. Partially, you’re jaded. There’s so much out there that’s been dubbed under the inoffensive term of alt-rock, you don’t really know what you’re about to hear. But it’s for this reason that you suddenly get a little excited. You could be about to hear anything. Thankfully, Lancashire quartet Monsters as Humans live up to the excitement with an abundance of aplomb. Hidden behind that alt-rock umbrella term is a biting, squalling version of a modern progressive sound, sounding a little like Brand New and Arcane Roots having a bar fight, and I’m not sure who’s winning.
I’ve Been Saving All My Catharsis For Exactly This opens on extremely chilled-out Prologue, Monsters as Humans’ highly deceptive introduction to the EP. It’s quiet, with a lightly-strummed, repetetive guitar line initially taking centre-field, before being joined by some simplistic, thumping drums and discordant guitars. It’s peaceful, and it’s a liar. Although the following track, Gravity, initially starts in a similarly beatific way, it rapidly enters into a faster rhythm, with Antoni Cole’s vocals coming through for the first time. It’s an engaging start, but it’s what happens next that really cements Monsters as Humans as being something a little different to your average “alt-rock” band. From its initial verse, Gravity leaps into a mathy, offbeat and abrasive beatdown briefly, coming from absolutely nowhere, and it disappears just as fast – only to be replaced by a rather Brand New-esque bridge that really is difficult to describe. All of this happens within about a minute and a half of the start of the track, and it’s a little overwhelming, but in the best possible way, demonstrating Monsters as Humans’ technical skill and impressive progressive song-writing prowess. At times, you almost have to check it’s still the same track, although it’s worth noting that each element of this prog-alt-rock medley carries similar musical theme, allowing them to tie together with very little jarring effect.
This is followed by Go Get Your Warpaint, which starts a little more tamely, and we’re starting to get a feel for what Monsters as Humans really sound like by this stage, and it still continues to be a mix of tones and sounds. There’s the signature switch-up between an upbeat, rapid sound akin to many under the alt-rock umbrella, before a switch to a more atmospheric bridge that allow us to see the multitude of influences behind the band. Go Get Your Warpaint ups the ante with a chorus full of buzzing guitar tone that saws straight up the middle, adding some real dynamic effects to the centre piece of this song. Complete with a paraphrasing of a speech by Winston Churchill, expertly included as a preface to the tracks outro, Go Get Your Warpaint serves as a technical and powerful central pillar to the EP.
I take an enormous amount of pleasure in writing the next few words: Don’t Dress Your Kids In Dinosaur Costumes, It Gives Them Ideas Above Their Station. That is legitimately the name of the track that caps off this EP. Opening on a slow-paced, drawn-out intro that’s nearly a minute and a half long, Don’t Dress Your Kids In Dinosaur Costumes is possibly the “funkiest” track of the three, featuring a really catchy, dancier tone that goes unfound in the previous two tracks, as well as featuring a chorus that sounds like someone mashed up some of Biffy Clyro and Deaf Havana’s older sound, and rings of endearment, managing to be nostalgic of the genre and successfully entirely Monsters as Humans all in one go. It’s a good closer, even if it probably lacks quite the punch of the EP’s other two offerings.
On a personal level, I’m impressed and delighted by I’ve Been Saving All My Catharsis for Exactly This. Despite my earlier derision regarding the generic term “alt-rock”, sometimes it can be really difficult to find the right term for a band or a sound, and Monsters as Humans really do defy all attempts at pigeon-holing. Each track, while having similar elements, really does bring something new and different to the table, and that’s something that can really be quite rare to find in our modern musical culture. Where Monsters as Humans really excel is their use of a variety of different sounds, thrown together into some really progressive song-writing. It’s engaging and varied, and produces a sound entirely their own. Sure, you can hear where some of their influences are, but Monsters as Humans really do stand out from the crowd, and a great thing is it too.
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