An invigorating kaleidoscope of sound amid rousing creative dramatics, Friend or Faux is the debut album from British outfit Beware! Monsters. It is an encounter bred on a fusion of electro infused rock ‘n’ roll, rap, drum ‘n’ bass, and dubstep; like a fusion of Hadouken!, G.R.I.M, and Abandon All Ships but swiftly finding its own character in a provocatively fun album with a snarl in its heart and lyrical suggestiveness.
There is also a more than light touch of Semitt Falls to the Manchester band’s proposal which is no surprise as Beware! Monsters features former members of that band in guitarist Paul Kendrick and bassist Sidge Rushton. In fact vocalist Jay Kane was also one of the founders of the unpredictably inventive Semitt Falls, linking up once more with former band mates and newcomer in drummer Corentin Neyran for a new adventure in 2016. Beware! Monsters swiftly found eager appetites devouring their boisterous sound live and subsequently with Friend or Faux and its enjoyably intrusive and bold sixteen track proposal.
Book ended and broken up with ‘skits’ of evocative aural suggestion, the album starts proper with Make Wubz Not War and a deliciously heavy bassline with funk in its heart. As electronic and guitar cast essences attach themselves, the irresistible coaxing leads ears into a lively stroll abound with rock bred devilment and electro enterprise. With Kane’s rapping an equally persuasive motion in the thrilling scheme of things, the song sparks thoughts of previously mentioned Londoners Hadouken! and fellow Mancunians G.R.I.M but as also suggested earlier shows plenty to forge its own identity.
A mightily anthemic trespass on body and imagination, the great start continues with Truth, a milder mannered encounter sound wise but with a bite to its words and an underlying defiance to its intent as melodies seduce and rhythms bounce. Rushton’s bass again is an imposing treat more than matched by the frantic urges of the electronic antics around it and Neyran’s tenacious beats.
A wonderful nagging quality is shared by Kendrick’s guitar in the following Higher, its riffs and grooves a magnetic persistence supported by funk fuelled rhythms and an instinctive catchiness brewed in quick time by the aligning of individual revelry. With a touch of Axis Mundi to its body, the fiercely enjoyable track is followed and eclipsed by Beware of the Monsters, a pop rock scented affair with classical strains in its melodic endeavour and rapacity to its captivation loaded rock ‘n’ roll; it ultimately a resourceful carnival with the snappy raps of Kane as its side show barker.
The brief Project Dystopia is a similarly alluring affair at ease either snarling or roaming through ears in a reggae graced haze before making way for the punchy dynamics of A Long Way From Home, a track epitomising the album in the diversity of styles and textures employed in its imaginative carousel. Though it lacks the same spark as its predecessors for personal ears, the song is a compelling and skilfully woven proposition before the short almost gothic lure of In Ravens We Trust pulls intrigue into the waiting drama of We Are The 48. The track is another rock heavy slice of goodness with a predatory edge to its rhythms and vocals amidst the entwining of fiery grooves and smouldering melodies.
The Messengers of Deception rumbles and grumbles next without skimping on veins of seductive melodic enticement and its own distinct web of rousing creative espionage while No False Idol smoulders around another earthy bassline as an Enter Shikari meets Electric Six escapade blossoms into something fiercely unique and explosive to Beware! Monsters.
The cosmic toned A Revolution in Progress stirs the senses and emotions next, its intimate yet worldly challenge a tempestuous blend of rock and metal as at ease gently caressing involvement as forcibly stirring it up, all with a craft and invention which sets another certain highlight within Friend or Faux.
Closing with The Haunting is Over, a short evocative instrumental, Friend or Faux is one of those striking debuts which lingers in ears and thoughts long pass its presence. Certainly some tracks surpass others but from its first eventful second through to its suggestive last, the album is an impressive introduction to a band already outshining its member’s previous successes.
Friend or Faux is out now @ https://bewaremonsters.bandcamp.com/releases
Pete RingMaster 11/01/2017
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