As seemingly deranged as it is openly seductive, Rhythm & Pals the debut album from UK rockers I ♡ The Monster Hero is an encounter near on impossible to tear oneself away from. Creating a distinctive almost swamp like mesh of synth pop, psychedelia, and garage rock with rich noise and garage punk spicing, the album is a mesmeric and disturbingly compelling proposition. It could be the soundtrack to absorbing dreams or the seeding to voracious nightmares, either blossoming within it’s simply thrilling imagination flirting rapacity. Consisting of eleven highly persuasive and at times welcomingly invasive fascinations, Rhythm & Pals is a rare and uniquely exhilarating treat.
Formed in 2011 and hailing from Dublin, I ♡ The Monster Hero include the likes of Aphex Twin, Love, Neil Young, New Order, Suicide, The Cars, The Supremes, Velvet Underground, Electric Light Orchestra, and Prince Edward Island in their long list of diverse inspirations, seeds which are explored, warped, and reconstructed into something impossibly magnetic within the band’s own brew of imagination. The band consists of Andy Walsh, Simon Dowling, Philip Clarke, David Crean, and Paddy Walsh, a quintet certainly taking the album as evidence who whips up psyche engulfing toxins which are just as virulently and commandingly effective on feet, senses, and passions. Following a couple of weeks back the very tempting release of the single Tony Bailey, which opens up the album, Rhythm & Pals takes the listener and their swiftly submissive mind on a riveting life improving flight through aural alchemy.
Tony Bailey idles in on an electronic whisper soon expanded with Casio temptation and crisp eager rhythms into a toe tapping shuffle. Joined by soft and expressive vocals as the keys cloud the skies with great repetitive nagging amidst bright melodic colours, the song expels a warm kaleidoscope of invention and sonic hues for imagination and emotions to devour greedily. Cored by increasingly enticing rhythms and a developing throaty bassline, the encounter simply bewitches as it inspires body and appetite to join its magnetic calling. It is a track which romances as it wraps resourcefully around the senses, something emulated if in different shades by the next up Send Goodvibes Only. With a croon of House of Love around its smiling yet darker lips, the song is a poetic venture soaking the ears in elegant shadows and vibrant almost crystalline melodies, it all coming in a surface of scuzz kissed and fuzz fuelled enticement.
It is a strong start to the release but only an appetiser to greater things reinforced by the rhythmically fuelled Little Gems, a song with a potent swagger and a dirty atmosphere which without lighting fires keeps attention and a steadily growing appetite well contented. The ascent to higher plateaus starts with Bozo Vs Slug, another track gripping ears with an initial lure of rhythms, these driven by raw sinews and tenacity. Thumping out the frame for an emerging graze of garage punk and psyche infused rapaciousness to trigger an awakening feisty stomp, the drums incite song and listener constantly across an increasingly psychotic and powerfully contagious landscape. It is a glorious encounter which turns already sparked pleasure lustful, as does in its own unique way Whisper. Thirty seconds of sultry blues bred seducing with discord spawned toxicity under fuzz lined melodic vocals it is a mere slip of a temptress but wholly alluring.
Both Do Dah and the blues spawned Clipper 61 keep the album striding across its highest point. The first emergences from a spatial intrigue filled breath with vocal harmonies and a gospel spiced climate before folk canvased scenery flirts and dances with ears whilst percussive additives quickstep their way through the tantalising electronic haze. With every twist of sound and second of invention the song adds textures and spices without losing its bright simplicity, ensuring another highlight within the album is devoured. It’s successor rumbles and canters invitingly across senses with appealing shadows and irresistible dark emotive charms within a raw guitar sculpted suasion of captivating coarse and reserved rock ‘n’ roll. Occasionally ripe with the sparkling lure of Buzzcocks like addictive hook belted melody, it shows as most of their songs, that I ♡ The Monster Hero is masterful at merging uncompromising and undefined swamp of sounds with sonically barbed but seductively enchanting hooks, allowing both to prosper individually and as an united smothering, but nowhere more impressively than here.
The ear romancing Madeline soaks thoughts and emotions next, the track a mesmeric cloak of enveloping sound and ingenious intrigue before the similarly potent and melodically pungent Hatchet steals its fair portion of the passions, with again infection soaked rhythms and coaxing effect washed vocals. Both songs whirl and swarm over the senses in individual but uniformly successful ways, enchanting and bewitching with siren like accuracy, with the growing rhythmic and melodic emprise of the second as near to aural addiction as anyone is likely to come across.
Car #9 steps in just before the end of the album to steal best track honours, its carnivorous bass growl and irrepressible gripping hooks within delicious expansive melodies and vocals, pure primal and irresistible enslavement. A merger of decades and varied flavours, the song is pop ‘n’ roll at its most formidable and majestic leaving the closing Electric Chainsaw (I Can’t Get You out Of My Head) a task and a half to compete against. Its attempt is impressive and thrilling, the song another pop caress to embrace and bask within as vocal harmonies and shimmering melodies conjure the strongest psychedelic enhanced beckoning. It is an outstanding end to a scintillating encounter, an album which thrusts I ♡ The Monster Hero into an immediately intensive spotlight. Rhythm & Pals is just the start of major things you suspect for the band and something to definitely lick lips over.
Rhythm & Pals is available via Crocfingers Records now!
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