Portland-based rockers Rare Monk go far back on Obscure Sound, with their track “Underground” impressing in 2012 with its stirring string infusions, waves of guitars, and passionate vocals. Presently, they are gearing up to release their debut full-length album A Future in the summer of 2017 — featuring 10 brand new songs recorded in Portland with Skyler Norwood (Blind Pilot, Horsefeathers, Priory). It marks a new period of sorts for the act, after some lineup changes in 2016, including the departure of the original guitarist and violist and addition of guitarist/vocalist Hugh Jepson. With Jepson’s addition, the group’s new emphasis is on “writing bigger guitar parts, dueling leads, and beautiful falsetto harmonies. What resulted were ten new songs written and recorded over the course of the last year and a half.”
“Happy Haunting”, off the upcoming album, is a fantastic showing that affirms Rare Monk haven’t undergone any serious stylistic changes — while also showing that Jepson’s addition has contributed to perhaps the most well-polished, immediately satisfying result to date. The fluid guitar work and confident vocal work remains, as does the Rare Monk trademark of wonderful string incorporation, which swells particularly prominently past the two-minute mark, leading into a gorgeous bridge with melodic guitar distortion and feedback leading back into the string-infused chorus. This is a highly infectious success that has me greatly anticipating A Future this summer.