Friday, December 28, 2018

Shanies: EP of the Year

My favourite part of this award is that it often gives a chance for the little guy to shine. I don't believe in giving out participation awards, so I'm not about to pat the back of a friend's band just because they did good when I'm comparing them to some of the sonic genius this world has to offer. That said, as a form that lends itself more to independent bands, the EP often sees some fun moves.

And some years, even I surprise myself when I realize that major, signed bands didn't do as well as someone I know. This year's runner up, Nine Inch Nails' Bad Witch, is a perfect example of a great EP reminiscent of the early days of depressed, drugged out Trent. However, for my money, I still enjoyed monarch's The Memory of Trees more.

This EP is a fascinating evolution of monarch's signature early 00s post-rock infused, progressive sound. It does well what I respect ambitious albums for doing by combining flavours of prog, hardcore, punk, and post-rock, but also has its own unique signature. Alternating between spacey, guitar-led stoneresque explorations and deep, unified, heavy head-bobbing sessions, the album demands attention but gives back what it takes. The musicianship of each member of the band is undeniable, as is their ability to take exceptionally complex and challenging music and present it in a way that sounds easy and accessible. I constantly found myself playing the "what time signature is this" game, however, when turning my nerd-brain off, was still able to sit back and enjoy the groove that each instrument seemed to contribute their own chaotic piece to the peaceful whole.

I love listening to this album, but I think even moreso, I respect this album for how ambitious it is and how seamlessly it seems to have come together. The whole album deserves a spin, but if you're in a hurry, take a listen to my favourite track, Chrysalis, to get a sense of what I'm talking about.

-Addicted to pain and I've got more where that came from