Mind-boggling is an expression that’s rarely used when it comes to describing music these days, but the new LP from I ♡ The Monster Hero certainly falls into this category. Their much vaunted debut has been described as everything from ‘psych pop’ to ‘quirk-rock’, labels that don’t even begin to describe the idiosyncrasies of the record. With so much going on it’s practically impossible to pinpoint a definitive genre, but in basic terms the band utilise a compelling blend of synth, edgy guitar riffs, instrumental samples, loops, extortion and layered vocals, to create a wide range of sounds including indie pop, electro, blues, garage rock, psychedelia, drum n’ bass, and gospel, to name but a few.
From brilliantly erratic opening track, and current single release, ‘Toni Bailey’ – a thumping electro-pop tune that hits all the right notes (and a few of the wrong ones) – the listener is instantly transported into their world, a perfect vantage point for what’s to come. Following is a musical journey of such twists and turns that it threatens to overwhelm even the most avant-garde of music fans. While rhythmic, heavily looped garage rock tracks like ‘Send Goodvibes Only’, ‘Car #9’ and ‘Electric Chainsaw’ form the body of the record, we are also treated to moments of breezy, melodic pop (‘Little Gem’), high-intensity blues-rock (‘Clipper 61’), hard-hitting alternative (Bozo vs Slug) and mystical serenade (‘Madeline’).
The haunting vocal harmonies and eerily clapped rhythm on the sensational ‘Do Dah’ portray definite gospel conventions, while outlandish progressive tunes like ‘Hatchet’ maintain the air of total unpredictability that’s etched all over the record. Given its elaborate, psychedelic nature, subtlety is certainly not a virtue that’s present in any shape or form on Rhythm and Pals and, while this may fail to endear it to new fans, it’s almost a necessary sacrifice in the composition of such a ludicrously unique compilation of music. Hands down, the most interesting album of the year so far.