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The Monroe Transfer - Coffee Sex You (OST) CD (album) cover


The Monroe Transfer


Post Rock/Math rock

3.00 | 2 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars This is the first release by this excellent post-rock band that I've been disappointed by. After hearing "Joy," "Electric Old Wire Noise," and "I dreamt I was a hammer and everything was glass," I was convinced that The Monroe Transfer is one of the finest independent post-rock bands in the modern era. I still believe that, as a matter of fact, but you'd never know it from this release. "Coffee sex you" appears to be a film soundtrack, and The Monroe Transfer's slow-developing, exquisitely arranged music absolutely does not work with the time constraints the project must have required. The majority of the album is made up of 1-minute tracks that have no time to go anywhere, and as a result the album fails to deliver much of anything noteworthy.

"Maria's Suicide Attempt" starts off with a melancholic string part that I think I can safely say at this point is a staple of The Monroe Transfer's Sound. These strings, however, are much more disjointed than most of the group's lush, serene work, perhaps conveying the turmoil that leads to the title event. The track progresses to include some static effects which are used almost as percussion sounds, over which some typically languid, somewhat sorrowful guitar and strings play. Definitely not a bad song, and as it's parenthetically labeled as "Main Titles," I understand the sound that the group was going for, but it seems to me that compared to a lot of The Monroe Transfer's other work this piece just falls a bit flat. I don't know if it's the pacing or the arrangement or what, but where almost everything else the band has done has blown me away this one simply leaves me a bit cold.

A series of very short tracks follow, of which "Swimming pool" is the first. Really nothing more than a very simple guitar part which is minimally underlaid by some strings, the track has no time to develop into anything other than some mildly pleasant incidental music (which, to be fair, it probably is). The same is true of "The Morning After," which places strings at the forefront with a pleasant enough little repeating melody. Again, though, it's far too short to stick out as anything special. Post-rock is a genre that often succeeds through slow development and brilliant pacing, and 42 seconds is not nearly enough to do anything significant in those aspects.

"Trip To Italy" is probably the best of these three sub 1-minute little numbers, because it takes advantage something I view as one of The Monroe Transfer's greatest strengths: their ability to craft emotional music. Despite a 42 second run-time, "Trip To Italy" works as well as it possibly could by cramming in an immense amount of emotional content, something the group is very, very good at. Where the previous two tracks came off as somewhat bland or even pointless, "Trip To Italy" works because it doesn't try to do more than it's capable of.

"Rehearsals" begins with some solo cello before being joined by violin. The two play off of each other very well, but I have the same complaint as with tracks 2 and 3: it doesn't have time to go anywhere. When "Maria Meets Clarke" begins, it's almost enough to make the listener groan: not only does it have the same problem of underdevelopment, but it sounds far to similar to all of the rest of the music here. I firmly believe that the reason The Monroe Transfer's other music is so good is because of their arrangement: their pacing is brilliant, their melodies are heartbreaking and their orchestration ties it all together perfectly. Without sufficient space to develop all that, all the magic disappears and by the time the same unaccompanied, droning strings appear on "Café Conversation" as well as the previous two tracks there's really no redeeming value anymore.

"Maria's End," unfortunately, offers no redemption for the release. Using many of the same themes as "Maria's suicide attempt," including the static percussion, all the song really highlights is how many problems the album has: far too much sonic repetition, a lack of any kind of significant development, and just a general absence of anything close to the mind- blowingly beautiful music that the band is capable of.

Please, please, do not listen to this album if you haven't heard anything else by the group. It is absolutely not representative of the quality of music that The Monroe Transfer is capable of putting out, and all told it's really a pretty poor release from a band that I still think makes some of the most beautiful music around today. They just don't have the space to do it here. Go out and download any of the aforementioned albums from the group's bandcamp; I almost guarantee you'll be impressed and the group deserves all the attention it can get. With that in mind, though, there's very little reason to listen to this one.


VanVanVan | 2/5 |


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