Sound: "Monsters of Folk" is the name of the first album by the American supergroup Monsters of Folk. At first, and influenced by the name, we may be pushed into thinking this is another folk record, but while we listen to its songs one by one, we find more than one musical genre amongst its 15 tracks.
The opening track (Dear God) combines harp with bright vocals and a looped groovy drum beat. As we press the "next" button on our media player, we find a wide variety of sounds and genres that go from a country-like sound in "The Right Place", "Baby Boomer", or "Goodway" to a more "rockish" sound embellished with electric guitar solos in "Say Please" and "Losin Yo Head" and also (doing justice to the album's name) the obvious folk sound, present in almost every track, but particularly evident in my two favourite songs: "Map Of The World" and "Man Named Truth". // 7
Lyrics: All four members of the band took part in the album with their instrumental and vocal skills, which has given this album a relatively wide display of vocal performances.
The lyrics on the album generally fit well with the melody, often involving us in a warm and bright atmosphere when allied to the almost omnipresent chorused vocals. The songs tell us mostly about life and the way normal people relate to it. One of the best lyrics on the album is perhaps "Map of the World" as it has a very strong rhythmic feeling allied to a fairly good poetic measure. // 6
Overall Impression: When you are listening to this album you may find some similiraties with other folk(-ish) artists such as Paul Simon, Elliot Smith or Sam Bean (commonly known as Iron & Wine) and so on...
But, despite having more than one singer performing, the album lacks a certain variety in vocal tones, as what I considered above a "relatively wide display of vocal performances" may not be that wide if you don't pay much attention to what you're hearing. It will definitely be a challenge to identify the different voices on the album if you're not aware that there's more than one. But this is only one of the few negative aspects I can point on this record. The pros are much more than the cons. Having to pick one pro, I'd probably go for the musical variety, because if you like acoustic guitar, you'll most surely like at least one or two songs on the album. And that's something you can't say about half the records out there.
Finally, my advice is that anyone who likes acoustic and strong melodies should definitely give this album a try. I speak for myself: when I bought the album I wasn't entirely sure about if I'd like it or not... but now, if I lost it, I'd surely go back to the record store to buy a new one! Enjoy! // 7