Hey oh, here we go, here's another Underketing review ! Today we'll be talking about No Monster Club's "I Feel Magic" which is already available for preorder, either in digital format, or on of these nifty tape cassettes that the label, Already Dead Tapes, uses to release. The date for public availability being Feb, 19.
But, well, due to the awesome nepotism of being a music review blog maintainer, I got invited (such an honor) to get my hand on the release even before it's out. An advice, kid : start a music review blog ! Music perfectly fitting your taste will reach you automagically, and you'll get exclusive access to the albums you would actually pay for ! Actually, I will probably pay for this one, just because, I got just any physical release No Monster Club even issued... That's a long story, dudes.
Back in the mist of times, say, end of Spring in year 2009, I was lurking the #netlabel hashtag on Twitter, and I stumbled upon a webpage, from the (now defunct) Rack and Ruins netlabel, about a debut release, from a band called No Monster Club, and the page was saying something just like "Velvet Underground" blah blah blah...Quite intrigued, I pushed the "Play" button... Heard a few guitar chords... And the streaming stalled. But I was so charmed by the few seconds I had heard, that I downloaded the .zip...
The rest, now, is history. I enjoyed 'Tropical Decibels Volume 1" enough to buy the two volumes on tape cassette... And over years, kept on getting my hands on whatever No Monster Club could produce. Just because, word, No Monster Club is just like The Beatles. This band is defining a sound which will remain major in mankind history.
And, years after years, releases after releases, No Monster Club never deceived me, with their psych lofi garagepop straight from their island, that's just the kind of band that you can actually get old while listening to, just like, for me, Bob Marley, Blondie, Pixies, Nirvana or The Clash. Incredible ! A band from the XXIth century scene that was even better than our lovely dinosaur ancestors !
No need to say that I got quite anxious when pushing play to their newest release, "I Feel Magic"... Three... Two.. One... Ignition !
And the first arpeggios of Côte d'Ivoire are reasoning through the living room...
Well, this is the good ol' NMC... But actually, the sound is more precisely defined, more sharp, less lofi... I don't know, maybe, just like the average well produced indie release of the 80's... That's quite strange, I wasn't used to such a clean production...
Toy keyboards are aboard on this track, should I indicate.
The song, itself, is quite charming, a kind of strange lullaby, exactly the way the band used to serve tunes...
And now the second track is starting... Again, toy keyboards, sticky voice melodies, and, here's the chorus... And well, that's our beloved NMC, with the dynamics, the tricky sound, just excellent, all that I've to say.
I guess such a track, in a concert, would be a killer one.
Oh yeah ! Pixiesesque bassline starts... Lemonade, the KILLER SINGLE TRACK ! cant' wait, for the chorus... An ineffable endorphin load is expected... And that's on ! But actually, the band still plays it in demi teintes, not the hienergy chorus I was expecting... Maybe they added more colours to their... Uh, the song is over !
Fourth track... Still this sharp, well defined sound, for which I was not used to... Oh Bobby tries an unusual emphasis while singing on the intro... And the song really starts... Well, I guess this album, while being quite while produced, with a sound definitively oriented toward the broaden audience, is not of an easy access. You got to deserve to access its marvel. Too bad I planned to write a review from the first listening session. I guess it has to be listened again and again to reveal its true value.
Fifth track, starting with a Police/Jam-like arpeggio... Now I Know they achieved a major album... Oh Lord what a track. I feel shivers over my face, and when I think the tears are about to come, the song suddenly chill out... Until the heavy feeling starts again... Well, this "Charity Shop _Slaughterhouse" is definitively one of their best songs ever... If not one of the best songs ever ! Makes me think of Madness and XTC now... Excellent, definitively. Exactly why I love No Monster Club. I have nothing more to say.
And the albums goes on... Track after track, I now know that my writing skills is definitively not sharpened enough to describe how good this release is...
I got my soundtrack for when friends come in, for the whole year !
A smiley feeling is taking control over me... It's getting warm, even in French February with a low warming budget for the flat...
I got it. No Monster Club is mainly about naivety and innocence. It took me years, but now I got it !
Okay, it's time to write more generically about the album :
It's just usual business. No Monster Club is pioneering its way in the musical landscape, release after release, and this one is not an exception to the rule : it's a gem. Listen to it, or die silly.
I think it has the potential, both to please the old fans, and to gain new ones. But beware, once stung, you'll never recover !
This review is dedicated to Ismaël, a good friend since teen age and devoted NMC fan. You saw them live in Paris last fall, damn f*cker !