The shoegaze-of-the-moment may be more the M83 wall-of-sound than it is the Mazzy Star mellow, but Monster Movie need not follow trends. With Slowdive's Christian Savill as a partner to Sean Hewson, this band can trace its own roots back to the very roots of the shoegaze genre. This latest outing shows the duo in top dream-pop form, enlisting vocalist Rachel Staggs to help lay the blanket of music thick and silky.
While tempo is restrained, Savill and Hewson's songs are beautiful enough to never drag. "Vanishing Act," the first real song of the album, comes as close to bounciness as I've ever heard such an electro-dream-pop song get. The gentle strumming of an acoustic guitar buoys the more gauzy electric lead-line, while the male-female shared vocal glides along with an exceedingly pleasant harmony. On other songs, like "The Impossible" and "No One Can Know," the sound can get to be more ambling, but then there are the few rocking gems sprinkled throughout as well. The real highlights there are "Return to Yesterday" and "Drive Through the Red Lights," the latter being a surprisingly catchy tune that has very much become wedged in my brain.
With my only strong criticism of the album being that it doesn't seem to be timely enough to appeal to the average indie fan, I can't recommend this enough to fans of the slower, more thoughtful side of shoegaze aesthetics. While I don't think this will usher in a new era, I do think that stalwart fans will be substantially relieved to have some great new stuff to add to their collections.
2. Vanishing Act
3. The Stars That Surround You
4. Return to Yesterday
5. Hope I Find the Moon
6. Driving Through the Red Lights
7. The Impossible
9. No One Can Know
10. Run to the Heart of the Sunrise
11. Verticle Planes
12. Falling Into the Sun