Here Comes the Monolith

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Drawing on the Beatles, the Rentals, and Blondie, San Francisco's the Monolith are more than just some easily digested underground pop group. Synth purveyor Dahlia Gallin Ramirez gives the band the same kind of vocal power that Neko Case lends to the New Pornographers during her turns at the mic, with tunes like the set opener "43" and the irresistibly upbeat "Dandelion Storm." But the group's other vocalist, guitarist Bill Rousseau, is caught by the same new wave bug on the hook-drenched "10 X Infinity." Still, other influences diversify the album, keeping these nine tracks from ever feeling redundant as Rousseau contributes the fabulous, Lennon-esque "Ruby" and the lilting, tech-trickled "Alpha," the latter one of so many songs here that find his pipes blending effortlessly with Ramirez's. By the time the disc wraps with the adventurous "Trilogy" -- which glues three tunes into one -- it becomes apparent just how well conceived Here Comes the Monolith actually is. With the advent of this indie pop troop, enthusiasts of the style have one more reason to be cheerful.

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