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Rare Monk


[Self-Released; 2013]

By ; January 23, 2013 

Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOG

Portland, OR-based indie rock band Rare Monk draw on a wide array of influences, and for “Underground,” a song off their Death By Proxy EP from last year, as well as from their upcoming full-length Sleep/Attack, the band delivers a churning, vocodered mass of Kraftwerk, Dirty Three, and lean mid-90’s indie rock. The thumping beat and mournful violin that steadies lead singer Dorian Aites electronically compressed vocals seems to contort and expand in wildly unpredictable ways. The surging outburst of guitar that wraps around the wordless chorus, full of delayed notes and unsteady rhythms, feels both cathartic and unsure of itself. There’s something about the hesitant notes that seem to curl off from the twin guitars that cast an even more indecisive pall over the whole song than the somber violin (though it does help obviously).

Evoking both Electric Light Orchestra and The Man Machine-era Kraftwerk, the band never sticks to one influence for very long and never allows any one musical reference point to fully takeover. And if “Underground” is any indication of how Sleep/Attack will flit around from sound to sound and genre to genre, then February 26th can’t get here soon enough. Far from being just the sum total of their influences, Rare Monk are able to strike a balance between what makes them unique as a band and what made them get into music in the first place.


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