Only Monsters – ‘No One Hears, No One Sees’

Last year’s release of Influence marked the solo debut from Seattle-based solo artist Only Monsters, impressing with post-punk aesthetical inspirations alongside a visceral, yet ultimately hopeful, depiction of societal damage. The project now captivates with a sophomore album in No One Hears, No One Sees, further exploring rampant societal pressures and resulting themes of existentialism alongside a post-punk ferocity.

The album’s eight tracks captivate with its decisively moody spell. “You’re not alright,” the vocals exude on “Should I,” a standout track where eerie guitar complements and a brooding bass line evolve into the “should I go?” introspection. The questioning vocal segments and crawling guitar lines interact with a post-punk rhythmic engrossment for a sound fondly reminiscent of The Chameleons UK, particularly in the gripping vocal tone.

“Oh Death” shifts into even darker territory, audibly reflecting the oncoming nature of death — and a plea for one to be spared — alongside industrial synth buzzing. Foreboding percussive stomps aid vocals with heaven and hell lyrical references, asking “could you wait to call me for another day?” in questioning death as clanging post-punk guitar lines enter. The album impresses in a wide range of tones, from the spacious envelopment of “Oh Death” to the angst-y rock ardency within “Negligence,” where heavy guitar distortion and impassioned vocals ask “what’s it feel like to piss it all away?”

“I’m Trying” emphasizes the project’s tonal versatility in single track form, seamlessly ranging from solemn bass-heavy verses into textured guitar distortion amidst heavy percussive snares. “It’s getting harder to find the strength,” vulnerable vocals admit as the soundscape shifts back into gentle bass and key flourishes. “What can I do?” they continue, mesmerizing in anthemic form as the heavier guitars and reflective vocals converge for a replay-inducing emotion.

A lyrically gripping commentary on choice and consequence, “Judge-Penitent” meshes sporadic rock pulses with insightful wordplay. The lyrics weave a narrative of a life journey, capturing ordinary moments and profound encounters. The overarching theme revolves around self-discovery, personal evolution, and the complex interplay between fate and individual choices, culminating in a gripping title-touting refrain. The night grows cold and dark thereafter, in lyrical and atmospheric form, cementing its atmospheric chilliness. No One Hears, No One Sees is a moody, melodically enthralling success from Only Monsters, representing another success from the project following last year’s album Influence.

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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