Sainthood Reps

Monoculture

Written by: DR on 27/07/2011 22:29:19

"Watching a flock of sheep piling up in a room / Nowhere to breathe, you’d sell me air if you could / Same fashion, same scene, same community without a belief / Blindfolded, can’t wait, single file off a bridge, overcrowded lake"

You don't have to be a genius to work out what's eating at Sainthood Reps in "Monoculture", although it would help understand that song and the album if you're sick of trends, heartless scenes and the bands who attach themselves to it for other reasons than the music itself. It's a statement of intent from the album's title-track opener, and it sets the standard for everything that follows it.

After releasing it online not long ago, the band and their debut album has generated a fair amount of hype. Then again, anything containing a member of Brand New is going to excite fans. Those fans will be pleased to hear that "Monoculture" has a strong "Daisy"-era Brand New vibe that draws influence from the likes of Nirvana and Sunny Day Real Estate. At their most intense, they're seriously fucking intense, relying heavily on distorted, off-kilter guitars and emotionally-charged vocals. Songs such as the aforementioned title-track and "No/Survival" are a throwback to (post) hardcore as it was in the 90s, as is "DINGUS", which builds tension through subdued vocals in the verses and then unleashes it with "Wait… wait… WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?????" - one of the album's most powerful, and surprisingly catchy, choruses.

There's a duality to "Monoculture", as hard and fast as they can play, creating songs of furious noise and anger, they can also slow the tempo down, creating spacious atmospheres that draw from post-rock instead. "Hunter", the melodic mid-tempo jam sitting right at the heart of the album, is a highlight, giving the vocals and inspired imagery in the lyrics room to shine by dialling back the musicianship considerably into relative simple chord-progressions. "reactor, reactor, reactor, REACTOR!" has the textural build-up and crescendo of any post-rock gem, while "Widow", the most instrumentally layered and impressive song, is as epic and climactic as any album closer you're likely to hear in 2011.

For younger fans (such as myself) who weren't 'there' when this style of music exploded, this record is a bridge into the past; a modern interpretation of emo/alternative/hardcore. "Monoculture" is an album brimming with intent and determination; it's that rare breed of beast intense and passionate enough for hardcore fanatics, while intelligent and ambitious in scope for art rock fans. As a result, it will rank among the best debut albums this year.

8

Download: Hunter; Widow; No/Survival; reactor, reactor, reactor, REACTOR!
For The Fans of: Brand New's "Daisy"; Glassjaw; Thrice; Balance and Composure's "Separation"; Crime In Stereo; Nirvana
Listen: Facebook

Release Date 09.08.2011
Tooth and Nail Records

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