Sound — 9
Children Collide is an Australian rock band hailing from Melbourne. Their first album, "The Long Now," was largely praised in Australia, coming in at #90 in the Triple J Hottest 100 Australian Albums of All Time, and singles "Farewell Rocketship" and "Social Currency" got lots of praise for it's strong hard, Grunge-like sound. Their second album, "Theory of Everything" took another step into the Post-Grunge/Hard Rock direction, with the soft/loud dynamics technique being used in many songs. It was praised further with two entries in that years Hottest 100, "My Eagle" (#60) and "Jellylegs" (#22). The third album "Monument," took a step that no-one was expecting, exploring more experimental rock sounds with a lot of emphasis on effect pedals. The overall sound of the album is brilliant. Each song has something else to rave about, from "The Flat Earth," with it's crazy, unexpected solo, to the beautiful vocals on "Tired Eyes." The guitar riffs, as I stated earlier, are full of effect pedals, the bass is changing styles throughout, and the drums show off loud and proud. The only problem is at times it seems to clash, but very rarely.
Lyrics — 10
Lyrics have always been Johnny Mackay's strong point. His vocabulary is brilliant and he uses it to it's full extent throughout this album. He constructs such great phrases, such as, "The Synonyms of God" ("Black Lemon"), "Cause they shoot from the hip while you slash from the wrist" ("Sword to a Gunfight"), and a personal favourite, "I believe in stars, but not astrology. I believe in love but not monogamy" ("Praying for Sunshine"). The lyrics are most definitely a highlight. Johnny's vocals are beautiful. There is nothing amazingly impressive in this album. No crazy screaming like what was on "The Long Now," and his famous Wolfmother like whine that he has become accustomed to has seemed to disappear almost entirely ("Sword to a Gunfight" and "My Heart Came Alive" has the closest thing you'll get), but his singing seems to have improved. It's just a fact that he has a pretty voice. One of the notable performances is "Tired Eyes." His voice just flows perfectly with the song. It doesn't have any high or low notes, it just drifts beautifully throughout the performance. Another one is "The Flat Earth." He sings in a lower octave, but his voice just fits the music. Even when he doesn't sing 100% seriously, like in "Praying for Sunshine" when he said in an interview with Triple J that he wanted to sound like a ghost or werewolf, it still sounds good. He's just got that nice sounding voice.
Overall Impression — 9
01. "The Flat Earth" - Brilliant opening track. The bassline is really cool and groovy and the overdubbed vocals sound really good. Then the song just breaks into a crazy, bend-fest solo. 02. "Sword to a Gunfight" - The first single from the album, one of the closest songs to their original sound. The bassline introduces a groovy sound again, and the echoing riff is majestic. The song explodes into a crazy chorus which will have festival crowds screaming "EGG! CHILD! MAN!" 03. "Cherries" - Have I said anything about groovy basslines yet? The second single has a sick one. Not the best track, but still good. Another song which is very close to their old stuff. The drums sound really good. Play it loud. 04. "Black Lemon" - This has one of the best choruses out. The intro riff is really cool, but the lyrics and singing in throughout is the highlight. One of the best tracks on the album. But seriously, the chorus will blow your mind. 05. "Praying for Sunshine" - This track is old school, sounding a bit like Simple Minds. As I said earlier, the lyrics are my favourite. One of the best tracks on the album, with a really good chorus and really fun track to sing along to. Really nice outro as well, "it was the briefest of ecstasies." 06. "Prussian Blue" - The most accessible song on the album. Really upbeat with a great guitar riff in the chorus. The vocals are smooth and the drums keep the track moving. Festivals will be going off when this song plays. 07. "My Heart Came Alive" - Another great rock track which is similar to early Children Collide songs (especially "Skeleton Dance"). An amazing chorus and one of the best vocal performances on the album. And you're probably sick of it, but seriously, dat bassline. Excellent track. 08: "The Mausoleum" - Really atmospheric track filled with guitar. It's just a wall of sound surrounding Johnny's voice and the bassline is very industrial. Drums have a good impact as well. 09. "Summer Assassin" - A very cruisy, but somewhat disturbing, surf rock track. Can really picture a bunch of guys charging some big waves at Jaws with this song in the background. The breakdown is pretty cool as well. 10. "Sphere of Influence" - Starts weird, features Johnny singing the song low and lazily, has a weirder solo, has Johnny singing louder, has lots of distortion and ends abruptly after only a bit over a minute. Interesting, but still pretty cool. 11. "Smooth Gown" - This track will make you go "Da Faq?" A weird guitar (?) sound in the background, smooth bassline and very masculine tracks will make you think that it's going to rock. But Johnny opens his mouth with heaps of effects on it (delay, reverb etc). The weird high guitar notes that randomly appear make it even weirder. Something else entirely and hints towards Johnny's future solo stuff ("Fascinator"). 12. "Tired Eyes" - Wow. That is the only word for this stunning closer. Johnny's voice is beautifully soft throughout and the lyrics deal with a death of a friend or loved one ("Close those tired eyes"). A very beautiful, Bowie-like track with an amazing guitar solo (not technically but sounds simply perfect) leading the song to slowly fade away. "Monument" is incomparable to the other albums by Children Collide. It is just different. It doesn't get boring, each song is different, it flows really well and it finishes at the right time. It's a solid album.