Monsters of Folk

Monsters of Folk

by Monsters of FolkMonsters of Folk

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Overview

When M. Ward, Mike Mogis, Jim James, and Conor Oberst announced plans to record an album together, fans were quick to link the supergroup to the Traveling Wilburys, who blazed a similar path 20 years earlier. Truth be told, Monsters of Folk's emphasis on harmony vocals and atmospheric arrangements has just as much in common with the work of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, even if the political concerns that grounded that group are mostly absent here. Instead, the self-titled Monsters of Folk tackles topics like religion, nature, love, and lust, with all four songwriters sharing vocals and songwriting credits. Mogis, who rose to prominence by playing a central but somewhat surreptitious role in Bright Eyes, receives less screen time than the others, preferring instead to stay behind the scenes as producer and sideman. Even so, his guitar solo during "Say Please" is one of the album's loudest moments, and his production helps draw the album together. That's important, because there are multiple genres at work here, from trip-hop to rootsy rock to homely, homespun pop. Spread over 15 tracks, the combination wears thin at several points, and a few of the songs feel like solo material as opposed to a composite product. Monsters of Folk has moments on flat-out beauty, though, and when the musicians pitch their voices together -- as they do on the gorgeous "Slow Down Jo" -- the teamwork really shines through.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/21/2009
Label: Rough Trade
UPC: 0883870054522
catalogNumber: 7005452
Rank: 126733

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