MP3: Rare Monk – “Underground”

Rare Monk make a triumphant return with their new Death By Proxy EP, which showcases three songs appearing on their upcoming full-length, due out in February. The consuming “Underground” trembles with excitement. A buzzing bass and vocoder have an immediate presence, but the stirring violin arrangements lead the track to dizzying heights. The strings’ dominance over waves of guitar and clamoring percussion is surprisingly comparable to the grandiose emotional heights of Clint Mansell, whose scores include Requiem for a Dream and The Fountain. For all the bad placements of vocoders in songs, “Underground” actually does it right. Its inclusion is in the playful vein of Electric Light Orchestra, like the vocoded section of “Mr. Blue Sky”. This is an engaging, powerful effort that shows the band in full form.

“Death By Proxy” is more in the upbeat vein of punchy indie-rock, comparable to past Rare Monk successes like “Shoot Me Down“. The concise crunch of guitars and abrupt vocal additives on “Death By Proxy” remind of The Helio Sequence, and their knack for glistening choruses following swiftly rambunctious verses. There’s still some of that Isaac Brock snarl, but Rare Monk continue to craft a unique sound that separates them from easy-to-spot influences. Some of it has to do with the stellar inclusion of strings, which they do with enjoyable frequency. But it’s just the quality songwriting that speaks volumes. I’m extremely excited for their full-length in February.

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Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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