Monster Magnet

Monolithic Baby!

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Monolithic Baby! Review

by John Serba

"Wyndorfian" is the only appropriate phrase to use when describing the rawk machine that is Monster Magnet. Yes, lead Magneteer Dave Wyndorf is worthy of his own descriptive, his impeccable songwriting skills truly standing on their own crater-pecked asteroid in the music-biz cosmos. So it goes with Monolithic Baby!, which marks a couple of superficial transitions for Monster Magnet -- off a major and back to an indie; new rhythm section (Jim Baglino on bass and Bob Pantella on drums) -- but still upholds Wyndorf's highly entertaining mass of contradictions and vices. Simultaneously whip-smart and cementhead-stupid, smirking and sincere, he can challenge your intellect with an inspired arrangement or pseudo-political left-field lyric, then bash you over the head with a fat, greasy guitar riff; such is his genius. While Wyndorf's earlier endeavors were psychedelic dope dreams, he would eventually kick the hard stuff for a new addictive: sex. So it's no surprise that Monolithic Baby! kicks off with four smarmy-charm, crotch-thrusting musical metaphors for the horizontal mambo in "Slut Machine," "Supercruel," "Unbroken (Hotel Baby)," and especially "On the Verge," which counteracts a nudge-nudge-wink-wink doomsayer lyric ("Take me Jesus, take me Allah, rape me in my room/Torch our days in paranoia while we gorge ourselves on gloom") with a propulsive arrangement that explodes with climactic fury. The air-guitar heaven continues with "Radiation Day," which could have been cribbed from Black Sabbath's Master of Reality, and "Monolithic," which is constructed on an appropriately ugly, clubfooted fuzz-bass riff. His worship of all things Detroit continues with "The Right Stuff," a Hawkwind cover performed as a nod to the MC5 boasting a scruffy, two-chord pre-punk riff, and "There's No Way Out" offers a Bob Seger-like, dusty '70s AM radio strum and chorus. But fans of Monster Magnet's space rock origins will revel in Monolithic Baby!'s pièce de résistance, "Ultimate Everything," seven and a half minutes of psychedelic wastoid thunder: its stomping, rhythmic trudge sounds flogged by cloven-hoofed beasts while Wyndorf wails, "Lookin' up at the big sky, what do I see, a thousand years of bullsh*t comin' down on me!" and guitar solos flame out amidst a swirling whirlpool of acid-trip reality-escape. In other words, Wyndorf shows no signs of slowing down as he pilots Monster Magnet across the cosmos and straight into Satan's lap, the whole time binging on pills and pussy and paranoia. Monolithic? No argument there, Wyndorf following up his titular boasts with yet another collection of undeniably Wyndorfian tunes. [The U.S. version of Monolithic Baby! featured two bonus tracks: "King of Mars 2004," a re-recording of a track from 1995's Dopes to Infinity, and a cover of the Velvet Underground's "Venus in Furs." A limited-edition version came packaged with a bonus DVD boasting two promo videos and live and interview footage.]

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