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  Ben Chantice  


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Monoland are a German band who combine shoegazery guitars with quirky electronics to great effect. This album is very "contemporary German", and fans of the Morr Music label will find much to enjoy here. At times, Monoland sound like Lali Puna, and at others they have the whirring guitar fury of Sonic Youth. It's a good combination that actually works more often than it does not.

I can tell you nothing about the band because their website is mostly in German, and i can barely read enough to navigate the site anymore! The music is good though, and that's all that really matters, right?

Monoland kick off the album with Yuriko. Guitars grind in layers, cymbals tink, and the voice is gravelly and buried in the mix. And yet, a nice melody soars above the mess. It's fuzzy and loud and very enjoyable, like the best of what Ride were capable of.

On B_suct guitars grind over a funky beat. I like the drumming here, and one guitar is just droning away while the other is a noisy My Bloody Valentine style discordant scream in the background. The first half of the song is a good instrumental, then a nice vocal comes in. Great tune.

The next two tunes, Myopic and Levitate feature light, tinkling guitar parts. Levitate actually sounds like Landing, and it slowly blends into the next song, Sessna, which eventually explodes with a loud My Bloody Valentine like whirring guitar frenzy. There is a nice distorted sample of female voice over the noise, and although it does get a little noodley it's pretty good.

Monoland follow this up with Death of the Whale, which is a minimalistic wavering drone. It fades into a real rocker, Pimp, where Monoland show that Germans can cut loose just as well as Sonic Youth. I especially like the spastic drumming here.

On Herra Hu it sounds like the drummer takes a break and they use electronic samples of drums building a rhythm behind a heavily distorted wall of guitars. Not bad, but not the best of the noisy numbers here.

After that, the album sort of fades out slowly. Starbright on S5 is a mid-tempo affair with excellent keyboard work and fuzzy guitars. It fades slowly to Noth Amp, which is several minutes of abstract noise, consisting mostly of strange sounds that waver about, and ebb and flow. It's not a bad little bit of ambience, really.

Overall, i am impressed. Fans of the Shoegaze genre definitely need to check Monoland out.

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