This Rare Monk article was written by Alexander Beard, a GIGsoup contibuter. Edited by Stephen Butchard.
Portland based experimental band Rare Monk’s self-titled EP sees them progress from their dreamy, psychedelic approach last heard in their 2014 single ‘Splice/Sleep’. Although the single received positive reviews, Rare Monk’s EP sees them producing – alongside their usual strengths – huge, crashing waves of overdriven choruses, ridden most memorably with Dorian Aites’s cry of “California will burn, and I plan to enter.”
Opening track ‘California’ definitively strikes as an interesting, poppy and faster paced Dinosaur Jr laced track, guitarists Isaac Thelin and Jacob Martin set a searing opening riff that continues throughout, alongside the infectious vocals of Dorian Aites. It is an exceptional opening anthem to the selection Rare Monk have presented that listeners will find irresistible to come back to.
Following on is ‘Warming Pulse’. Rare Monk at this stage appear to be shifting back to a much mellower approach that seems more familiar to their past catalogue. However, as they progress, ‘Warming Pulse’ is revealed at its core to be an almost Phoenix sounding alternative pop song, with Dorian Aites taking strong centre stage again with persistently resonating vocals.
‘Light tracks’ presents an interesting shift in tone, with a backing of synths and deeply layered bass bringing up images of a slow and mournful procession. Rare Monk temper this a with a faintly heard but still upbeat guitar loop in the background, it is a repetitive but interesting break from the pattern of the rest of the album.
The final entry, ‘The Only Reason to Tour the Midwest’, is an enormous sounding track, guitar work resembling ‘Peregrine’ era Appleseed Cast is packaged alongside the solid toe tapping percussion of Forest Gallien and Rick Buhr. The closing track is a beautifully catchy, if at times melancholic finale to the developmental collection Real Monk’s have produced here.