Monster Movie

Last Night Something Happened

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Following up their debut EP with an equally worthy full-length, on Last Night Something Happened Monster Movie demonstrate both their roots and their sense of trying to play around as well. If it was just Slowdive (any particular era of them) redux, there'd be no real point, but right from the fantastic start -- a gently driving mini-epic instrumental called "First Trip to the City," which captures the yearning of prime Smashing Pumpkins in a more low-key way -- things are going well. Christian Savill's vocals, in comparison to, say, Neil Halstead's, are lighter, more open, and winsome rather than quietly whispery or reflective. Set against the melancholy flow of delayed guitar, pianos, and more on tracks like "Shortwave" and the midtempo "4th and Pine," it makes for an attractive contrast, not lost in the music but not completely standing apart from it either. The implicit drama in many of Slowdive's songs is hinted at here, but more than often the feeling is less that and more textural touches for their own sake, like the slow hip-hop breaks on "Take Me Away" or "Ooby." Still, the slower, almost stentorian pace of "Home" provides a sudden moment of light with the acoustic guitar-touched chorus, while "Winter Is Coming" makes for a strong, involving conclusion. Elsewhere there are signs of the Sarah Records background of the performers as well -- the excellent "Waiting" could easily belong on a compilation from said label back in 1992, for instance. A fun if unsurprising touch is using an actual chug of a train to provide the initial rhythm on the pretty cool robot-rock-into-shoegaze combination "Sleeping on a Train." Monster Movie won't reignite long-dead flames per se, but the duo does show that the style still has room for exploration and enjoyment.

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