Monuments slams the eclectic flavour of Ume’s style into your eardrums. The third album for the Texas trio is more than an indie rock album, bringing with it the sensation of progressive, pop and rock and roll. Ume certainly aren’t afraid to test their sonic boundaries on this record.
Opening with Black Stone you can hear the influence of producer Adam Kasper instantly, Queens of the Stone Age echoes through the 40-minute listen. Black Stone sets the album up well, but in no way does the spectrum of this record justice. This is epitomised by the shockingly easy shift between tracks like Too Big World to Chase it Down. The cadences of leading rock chick Lauren Larson’s lyrics are matched well with the raucously broad-ranging tempos brought together by band members Rachel Fuhrer and Eric Larson.
You can’t escape drawing parallels between Karen O and Lauren’s lyrical quality. She is such a powerful leading lady with natural rock talent, on display in both Barricade and Reason. From these two tracks alone you can feel there is more to offer from Lauren.
A favourite stand-out on the album Barophobia is a beautiful song, a personal ballad that puts Lauren’s voice front and centre. Gleam is a close second; these are songs that you can listen to easily and with emotion. They’re tracks to introduce new listeners and convert the rock-shy.
Embrace is the second track and a complete contrast to its predecessor. Its pop-rock nature could position it as single material for a more mainstream audience.
At times Monuments is repetitive, in both tune and lyrics. The second half of the album is victim to this. Oh Fate brings you back at the end but for a moment it is easy to forgot you are listening – this isn’t necessarily a criticism but perhaps more could be done with the gusto of tracks like this.
Wishin My Bones is a harmonic track and does nothing to betray the depth of this record, or the duos intelligent musical appeal. A great listen.
Monuments deserves a few listens, there are quirks to each track and more to tell than first meets the ear. However, this album is a collaboration of tracks not a story and the sharp contrast in songs disrupts the fluidity of the album. Overall the record brings a mix of strong, dark and acoustic guitar moods together with a progressive drumbeat. The albums balance has the effect of a live performance at times, while at others it is easy listening. Absolutely worth the 40-minutes but don’t be afraid if you skip through a few, the eclectic nature makes it hard to listen without a mixed mood.