Sunday, February 15, 2009

Album: From Monument To Masses - On Little Known Frequencies

Band: From Monument To Masses
Album: On Little Known Frequencies
Label: Golden Antenna Records\Dim Mak Records
Year: 2009

01. Checksum
02. (Millions Of) Individual Factories
03. Beyond God & Elvis
04. A Sixth Trumpet
05. An Ounce Of Prevention
06. The First Five
07. Let Them Know It's Christmastime
08. Hammer & Nails
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From Monument To Masses are set to release their new full-length, On Little Known Frequencies through Steve Aoki’s Dim Mak Records. On their new album, the politically charged rockers find inspiration in everything from glitchy electronic beats to the bristling energy of hardcore punk to hip hop break beats. They weave these eclectic influences into a danceable brand of post-rock that takes the genre and charges with it into the future.

Bi-coastal trio From Monument to Masses are political but never preachy, direct but never literal. Their mostly instrumental new album conjures up images that are vivid but open to interpretation. Francis Choung (drums/programming), Matthew Solberg (guitar), and Sergio Robledo-Maderazo (bass/synthesizer) fit together like the brushstrokes of an abstract expressionist painter.

“On Little Known Frequencies” finds the band weaving an eclectic array of genres into their post-rock core. Inspired by everything from hip hop beats to classical string arrangements to the explosive energy of early hardcore, FMTM twist these styles to match their aesthetic instead of throwing out overt references. The album is also laiden with spooky snippets of sampled dialogue, another example of the band’s decision to stray away from simply saying what they feel.

Opening track “checksum” kicks things off with hypnotic, sci-fi keys circling over locked-in guitar and drums while the first of the album’s many eerie samples plays. The tension steadily builds before the whole band does an about-face and settles into a comfortable groove. Robledo-Maderazo launches into an ominous bassline that bounces steadily with Choung’s nimble, rhythmically complex kit work. Solberg unleashes his unpredictable, shapeshifting guitar licks. The group continues to charge forward at full blast before arriving at a sweeping, cinemtatic finale with twinkling piano and haunting male-female vocals. The song plays like an epic journey with an abstract narrative and is only one of eighth such adventures on the album.

The band’s biggest asset might be that they are collectivly blessed with astounding musical chops as well as the desire to use them in a tasteful manner. While so much instrumental music comes off as a means to showcase musicianship, FMTM are able to drop jaws through emotion.

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