Originally released in the US in 2014, Monster Treasure‘s debut album is now available on our shores. A mix of fuzzy slacker rock, shoegaze and dream pop, it offers a fun, if derivative listen.
Monster Treasure clearly wear their influences on their sleeves, mixing the the fuzzier side of shoegaze with Best Coast‘s and Alvvays‘ brand of sunshine pop influenced slacker rock. As an album, the self-titled offering avoids veering into pretentious territory, preferring shorter songs, with the longest clocking in at just over four minutes.
Tracks like Lights and Over offer bouncy, melody and fuzz-ridden slices of feel-good; however, Monster Treasure doesn’t offer much beyond this. This type of thing has been done many times before, since the mid-1990s, and better. That’s not say this isn’t an enjoyable listen, it’s merely derivative and samey: it’s difficult to tell apart Over and Alright, being perfectly frank.
The longest track, Bill Evans, is another standout, mostly due to its change of pace making it discernible from the rest of the album, but also because of its sweet-sounding, repetitive back-up vocals during the chorus: “Never Come around, never come around”. Its longer length may have also allowed it to be better structured, sounding less like a bouncy piece of fuzz-pop and more like an actual song that thought was put into.
The slightly doomy Spook Me is also an intriguing track, managing to keep up a slow pace despite being just over a minute in length. Another shorter track, Dust, also seems like it could be fleshed out into a great pop song, but feels incomplete at this stage. It’s songs like this which define Monster Treasure: with potential, but frustratingly undeveloped. In addition, the sameness of the majority of the tracks here make Monster Treasure a sometimes grating listen, even at its short run time over 34 minutes.
Most of this review may have made it seem as if Monster Treasure is a bad album: it’s not. It’s a fairly pleasant album that most fans of the genre will enjoy to a certain extent. It’s simply all been done before and rough around the edges. Songs like those mentioned above show glimmers of potential for Monster Treasure, and here’s hoping they grow into something better. At the moment, however, they are simply average.
Standout Tracks: Spook Me, Over, Bill Evans
For Fans Of: Ringo Deathstarr, Best Coast, Galaxie 500
Written By: Alan Cunningham