This Bloom

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The cover art for 2014's This Bloom by Brooklyn trio Monogold, a silhouetted, rainbow-striped buck, offers symbolic foreshadowing of the nature theme and colorful spectrum of sounds that permeate the six-track EP, the post-rock band's first release after 2011's The Softest Glow. The record grabs the listener from the get-go with a short, instrumental prologue, the transportive, luring "Dynasties." Its glistening, effects-charged soundscape sets a faithful tone for what follows, and the unexpected glorious saxophone solo by guest Zac Colwell (CHAPPO, Fancy Colors) may well solidify an intense crush just before the flight takes off in earnest. "Dynasties" blends into the second track, "Holograms," which adds drums and builds component rhythms for a lush, hypnotic, danceable gambol. Keith Kelly's distinctive falsetto then tops the ethereal whirlpool of sounds where hooks, gliding melodies, and galloping rhythms carry the listener all the way through a stream of stacked loops and effects until the guitar-led, drum-free, nearly instrumental final track, "Skylark." The (albeit often indiscernible) lyrics, which in "Holograms" speak of "shimmering," "glowing," "color," and "sunrays," are right in line with tinsel-garnished timbres. "Under Daisies," about the more serious subject of death but as a celebration of nature and transcendence, still reflects the musical: "Where my head was a feathered nest of newborn singing birds/Felt the song strum through my veins and my skin and bones." The rhythmic interplay between virile basslines and vocals, and the huge difference in pitch range they represent with Monogold, is notable throughout the EP but particularly on "Our Wild Friend," where they flow in and out of rhythmic unison. "Dynasties" and "Skylark" serve as a prologue and epilogue of sorts (or a takeoff and landing) while, in between, the pulsating energy of the rhythms and sounds never lets up. Like a magic carpet ride over sunset-tinged clouds with passengers wrapped in a hug of griffin wings as they soar through the sky, This Bloom is strange, memorable, psychedelic, and exhilarating.

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