Monster Movie - Last Night Something Happened
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Monster Movie
Last Night Something Happened

Leave it to members formerly of Slowdive to create one of the dreamiest dream-pop (or whatever you want to call it) releases that I've heard in a long time. Imagine Slowdive not being so dreary, or Mojave 3 not being so dreary and adding keyboards, or labelmates Isobella with a bit more dynamics and you're somewhere near this little gem of a release. Following up their wildly popular self-titled EP that was released last year, the album finds the duo exploring some of the same realm, as well as taking off in newer directions as well.

The disc actually starts out with a track that shows off their instrumental arrangements (of which there are several on the disc). "First Trip" is just about 2 and half minutes of old-school layered keyboards and some minimal of pitter-patter of drum machines while some swirling guitars wash over it all. It's a warm, inviting track that leads off the album well and drops into one of the poppiest tracks on the disc with "Shortwave." With absolutely beautiful harmonized vocals and cold layers of synths, the track nearly perfectly evokes the slight uneasiness of the pictures of a snowstorm (seen from the drivers eye view) on the cover of the CD.

The group keeps a great pace going with the next several tracks as well. "Home" has a slower, echoed-out beat and more swirling synths, but also adds a nice organic touch with piano and acoustic guitars while "Waiting" is probably the best pop track I've heard yet this year with a hummable melody and more, lush layered vocals (including a guest appearence by Louise Hewson). The male-female vocal harmonies recall work by the former group Slowdive, yet the track has an effervescence that's infectious as well.

After another downright sing-along track in "Sleeping On A Train," the group again goes into instrumental territory with the quiet "Star City," which is a bit more melancholy as only the sounds of a radio broadcast play out behind a slight melody and some subtle washes of static. By the time that the end track of "Winter Is Coming" is spinning, you may very well find yourself hitting the repeat button. At 10 tracks (with a bonus on the vinyl pressing) that run about 37 minutes long, the album is just about the natural length for a pop/rock release in that it never drags on too long, yet it's not too brief that it fails to stick. Other members of Slowdive might be grabbing more headlines with their releases, but this disc by Monster Movie proves that other former members of the group are creating things that are excellent as well.

rating: 7.510
Aaron Coleman 2003-06-19 00:00:00