A horrible hack

From Monument To Masses

Beyond God and Elvis

Year Released: 2009
Format: CD
Label: Golden Antenna
Reviewed by Tom Sloan on Mar 13, 2009
This is the first Iíve heard from these post-rockers, despite their relative notoriety, and I must say I was underwhelmed on first spin. This is an odd little EP, containing two originals sandwiching two remixes of the first track. A cynical mood was not the moment, clearly, to expose myself to a new exponent of this genre, for I was preparing, before giving this a second chance, to condemn this band for some rather drab instrumental rock, with gimmicky spoken-word samples and superfluous electronic embellishments. Yet, on a further couple of listens, it seems the devil is in the detail, the title track a really nicely composed, ebbing-and-flowing sort-of number, which widens its palette of sounds tastefully as it progresses. The way the drums really drive the music forward and give their sound much-needed presence brought to mind the very-good Souvaris album of the other year, though From Monuments To Masses approach things with less force and a lighter touch than many of their instrumental peers, and are the better for it.

Unfortunately, this enjoyable (if undemanding) blueprint is not done justice to by the two remixes - one, a forgettable reworking with strings front and centre, the other, a forgettable adaptation peppered with some additional electronics. The remix CD that accompanied versions of Explosions In The Skyís most recent album showcased Four Tet, Mountains and Adem, among others, doing a good job of splicing the most appealing aspects of their source material into new forms that were perhaps more interesting than the originals. The two mixes here seem to have the opposite effect, by taking away almost all of made the first track any good.

ĎThe Role Traversalí bookends the EP with a rather plodding, moody track, that wins no prizes for originality. With its Mogwainian guitar progression and sweeping strings itís a worthy effort, though, incorporating some plucked violin (possibly) and another sample well enough. It only goes to confirm my suspicion that this is a decent band, but a toothless release.

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