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The Monroe Transfer - Electric Old Wire Noise CD (album) cover

ELECTRIC OLD WIRE NOISE

The Monroe Transfer

 

Post Rock/Math rock

5.00 | 1 ratings

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VanVanVan
Prog Reviewer
5 stars This band continues to impress. Staying away from the traditional "loud-soft" mode of post- rock that so many other groups in the genre tend to gravitate towards, The Monroe transfer makes emotionally dense, incredibly well composed music using a variety of instruments, including strings, horns, and of course the more traditional guitar and bass. I always feel like I end up using the word "gorgeous" too much when I review this band, but there simply are not enough synonyms for beautiful with which to describe this music. They're that good. Really.

The ironically titled "End Music" begins the album with some gorgeous and delicate guitar that lays down a simple but incredibly effective atmosphere for the track. Bass adds to this as well, and by the time percussion and strings enter at only a little more than a minute into the track this music has already created more emotion than some bands have in entire albums. Though there is nothing incredibly complex about this music, it is composed and arranged so well that it more than makes up in emotion what it lacks in technical showmanship (and to be honest, I'd much rather have the former than the latter). With about three minutes left in the track a new motif begins to develop, and "End Music" takes on a folky, almost Spanish feel. Some howling distortion takes up behind this part, but it's used to great effect to add atmosphere, not to distract from the beautiful music happening up front. The ending is a final culmination of all the emotion that has appeared in the track so far, building up to a crashing climax before fading out in a wash of distorted guitar.

"A long fall & no-one to catch you" starts off on a more electronic note, with a sound that resembles radio static beginning the track before keyboards come in, aided by a bass part that takes the simple chord progression and turns it into something transcendently moving. The lush strings that pervade The Monroe Transfer's music make another subtle appearance here, adding texture without being overbearing, and even the static noise that began the track is used throughout; another texture in the stunning web of sound that makes up the track. "A long fall?" is perhaps a bit more experimental than "End Music," but it certainly doesn't suffer for it, with the same melancholic themes of longing and loss dripping from every note. If this doesn't tug on your heartstrings then I don't know what could.

"Singcircle" is a much shorter track, and a much more experimental and ambient one as well. Electronic noise and droning sounds make up most of the sound on the track, with plenty of screeching and static to provide an interesting change of pace from the more pastoral first two tracks. Still, though, "Singcircle" is never grating, and serves a nice interlude of sorts for the album.

"That was then, this is now" begins with a minimal, monotone guitar. Another guitar soon joins, playing a little folky melody before a great crash of sound suddenly bursts forth, with screeching strings, crashing guitars and percussion. This develops into one of the heavier sections I've heard from The Monroe Transfer, and one of the more uptempo ones as well. Strings join guitar, percussion and bass to create a very interesting sonic combination, almost approaching metal. There are some interesting moments as well where all the rhythm breaks down and the instruments just go nuts. All of this together makes this probably the most intense track I've ever heard from the Monroe Transfer; it's less "delicate and beautiful" and more "insane and angry." That's not a bad thing, certainly, it's great to see that this group can vary its sound so drastically and still make fantastic music.

"Hallelujah!" closes off the album on a triumphant note, with guitar and strings laying down an uptempo, victorious theme that's aided by horns and a prominent violin part. Everything about this track just exudes hope and optimism, and that's a great emotion to end on.

I've reviewed a few other releases by this group before, namely two one-track EPs. I gave both of these 5 stars, but I can distinctly remember writing that I wasn't sure if they could put out a full album of the same quality.

Well, isn't the egg on my face. Though "Electric Old Wire Noise" comes in at under 30 minutes, it's definitely a full, varied album that shows The Monroe Transfer can pull off the full album format. From the delicate opening strains of the first track to the triumphant conclusion of the last, this album is a voyage through a variety of emotions and sounds that will make your head spin. I really believe that this group is an incredibly underappreciated treasure and fans of post-rock would do well to check them out.

5/5

VanVanVan | 5/5 |

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