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No Monster Club
People Are Weird
[Popical Island/Mirror Universe]
Generally, whenever I listen to a new album there’s that bedding-in phase when I’m not really sure what’s going on. It’s all new, so it might take me five or six listens to stop referring to a song as “track three” and call it by its actual name. I usually have this weird thing where everything sort of melts together on the first few listens and my brain gradually separates it all out as I get used to the different sounds, lyrics and themes. That’s something that hasn’t really happened with No Monster Club’s People Are Weird, because large tracts of it actually do sound the same. It isn’t a bad album and it does have its moments, but it feels shallow.
They’re the sort of band you might imagine an Arts student, armed with a box of Amber Leaf, a copy of Simulacra and Simulation and fresh out of The Pav might be heading out to see on a Thursday night. The sort of band who make ironic music videos and who say things like “I just wanna sing about lava lamps, ice cream and getting my head chopped off”. They’re the sort of…well, you get the picture.
The opening track, ‘Can’t Get Enough of That Hippy Dippy Bullshit’ actually stands out in the sense that unlike the rest of the album, it isn’t mediocre, it’s just actively bad. ‘Arms Across America’ sets the “lo-fi pop” tone for the rest of the way and it’s a fun, bouncy song. So too is ‘The Severed Head’, but if you weren’t fully paying attention, you probably wouldn’t have noticed that one song had ended and another had begun. There are no themes here, there’s nothing to sink your teeth into. It feels like Bobby Aherne skimmed Baudrillard’s Wikipedia article and Got Ideas. On ‘Winning Streak’ they note:
“Good guys die
And the killer is always the last left
To be alive
And the Prince always gets a real looker
For his wife”
For reasons such as this, apparently, you’ve got to always “Treat this life as a laugh, as a laugh, as a laugh”. The album just sort of goes on in this manner. ‘Late Bloomers’ is similar to ‘Arms Across America’ and, perhaps unintentionally, sums up the entire album. No Monster Club are certainly talented, and they may even “go far” and become “number one in the charts” but for now they’re “late bloomers, baby”. After this brief moment of clarity, it’s back to shiteing on about building a “victorious go-kart” that will “blow the other racers apart” and you, once again, get the feeling that you’re completely wasting your time.
There is certainly an argument to be made that, at the very least, No Monster Club don’t just sing about the same old things. There are no songs about love or partying or the passage of time, however, there aren’t really any songs about anything here. It all melts into one big – occasionally enjoyable – but overall forgettable mess. But then, I think Emily Dickinson was just some spinster nutcase whose demented ramblings were wildly misinterpreted and Jackson Pollock was a piss-head who liked splattering paint around the gaff, so what do I know?
TWO OUT OF FIVE