Monsters of Folk

Studio Album by released in 2009
Monsters of Folk's tracklist:
Dear God (sincerely M.O.F.)
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Say Please
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Whole Lotta Losin
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Temazcal
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The Right Place
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Baby Boomer
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Man Named Truth
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Goodway
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Ahead of the Curve
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Slow Down Jo
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Losin Yo Head
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Magic Marker
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Map of the World
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The Sandman, the Brakeman and Me
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His Master's Voice
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Monsters of Folk review

The supergroup Monsters Of Folk

The notion of supergroup always causes an ambiguous reaction, mainly because statistically not so many of musicians’ side projects have proved successful. Nevertheless, they do exist and the American supergroup Monsters Of Folk is one of those that have resulted to be even better than one could predict. The band consists of Jim James from My Morning Jacket, Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis from Bright Eyes and Matt Ward known as M. Ward. The musicians met on tour with their teams in 2004 and had an opportunity to play together. It has not taken so many of this kind of improvisations for the guys to understand that it was worth while trying to play some more concrete pieces and perhaps even record something. As a result, each of them has written several songs without any haste, 15 of which have ended up on Monsters Of Folk’s eponymous debut album which is ready to refined long autumn and winter evenings with its great atmosphere.

Each of Monsters Of Folk members plays an important part on the album

No doubt each of the project Monsters Of Folk members plays an important part on the album, and yet Conor Oberst is definitely notable on the absolute majority of tracks, whereas Mike Mogis is rather in the role of producer here, and it is thanks to him that vocals and arrangements sound just perfect. It is interesting that the record opener and closer are quite different from the tracks between them in the way of their mood – peacefully ironic Dear God (Sincerely M.O.F.) and slow, acoustic, penetrating His Master's Voice. Mogis’ guitar solo refines the composition Say Please, whereas the tracks Whole Lotta Losin' with a contagious rhythm and sadly beautiful Temazcal are among the album’s highlights. Some great country guitars sparkle on such songs as Baby Boomer and Goodway, while another melancholic number Ahead Of The Curve pleases with soft vocals contrasting with the booming drums. A splendid example of how four different vocalists can sound harmoniously and wonderfully beautiful is the song Slow Down Jo, and M. Ward demonstrates his best vocal skills on another country composition Losin' Yo' Head. One of the most original tracks here is Map Of The World – the lyrics filled with the spirit of adventures combine with a soulful singing once again not devoid of some country elements, and another example of the vocal harmony The Sandman, The Brakeman And Me conquers with the most soulful melody and a philosophic text.

Rather a wide range of genres, moods and themes

Most probably the project’s name, Monsters Of Folk, is not so much to mean what style prevails on the album as to make an accent on the members’ big experience in this music direction. The guys have allowed themselves to cover rather a wide range of genres, moods and themes on the record. Listening to this music passing from folk-rock to country, then to trip-hop and rock’n’roll, now we reflect deeply about something, then smile, than we are sad and then just relax and sing along to a memorable motif. As for the themes, the musicians have managed to raise simultaneously the questions of religion, a man’s relationships with other people, with the opposite sex and nature, they have touched upon some deeper philosophic issues and dwelled upon several hedonistic moments. On the whole, the album Monsters Of Folk can be considered as an independent creation without associating it with its creators’ past, or make comparisons which are sometimes notable with the other albums of their bands. Anyway the record is good in both ways of consideration and perhaps the four talented musicians will soon record even more interesting works.