Monsters of Folk is surprisingly solid on debut


Ever since Cassadaga, I’ve regarded new Conor Oberst projects warily. I’ve always been a fan of Bright Eyes, but his work after never really did anything for me — it all struck me as nice and pleasant and boring, for the most part.

So, maybe the trend hasn’t changed and I should be praising the other three members of Monsters of Folk for their successful debut effort. Or maybe it has, and Oberst is hitting his stride once again. Or maybe his desire to hand off the mic from person to person recently helps him creatively. Bascially, who cares. The album’s good.

The super group is made up of Oberst, M. Ward, Jim James and Mike Mogis, and pretty aptly named as a result. The music is mostly no-frills folk (rock) with the occasional welcome mix-up: nothing particularly incredible, but consistently competent and entertaining. The monsters (let’s call ’em that) switch off on vocals, often in the middle of songs, which creates some interesting dynamics — especially the polarizing lead track that I’m personally a fan of, “Dear God (sincerely M.O.F.)”). Naturally, some tracks sound a bit too much like their singer’s respective solo projects, but that comes with the territory. It moves along smoothly, and the 15 tracks never feel overblown or unnecessary.

So, simply put, it’s a nice and respectable effort from some pretty nice and respectable guys. Can ya dig it?

Monsters of Folk – “Say Please” [MP3]

Monsters of Folk – “Dear God (sincerely M.O.F)” [MP3]

Monsters of Folk on MySpace

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