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Monroe Park – Self-Titled – Album Review

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Monroe Park - Monroe Park

The debut Self-Titled EP from Monroe Park opens on the bright and Celtic-tinged “My Crane Maggie,” abound with bouncy riffs and drums that match the melodies note for note (à la Keith Moon). The vocals are excited, harmonies joyous, and there’s an undeniably sophisticated pop sensibility in the writing here as every section feels catchy and produced intuitively. The album jumps into hard rock on “Fired Up” with distorted licks filling every void in the vocals and an attitude shift from the first song, climaxing in a guitar solo reminiscent of Judas Priest and a keyboard solo closer to Deep Purple. The song mixes a classic rock style with some vocals that sound like Jet meets The Raconteurs, and the lyrics match it with great lines like “The Great White ain’t so great when she’s going to town.”

Things cool down on “Something Worth Feeling” where the band switches to some calming soft rock, with bright guitars and creamy bass. Although lines like “When you’re looking from the outside in/ You don’t know where the heart has been,” are wonderfully poetic the melodies feel a little too overdone  to hold interest after the blowout start of the EP. “Where I Stand” opens with the classic rock arpeggiated intro, and almost feels like it might fall into the predictable sombre intro to hard rock of songs “Stairway To Heaven” and “The Pretender” before turning this into an epic, dark ballad. Harmonies, synth strings and a Santana-esque solo all add to the emotion of the track that blends old and new sounds perfectly.

The album closes almost as excitedly as it started on “Sunsets and Churchbells” which jumps from fast flourish-heavy guitars to a layered slow jam with a lot for ears to grab onto. The lyrics are laden with love and joy of life, with the melody complementing this and both simultaneously getting darker in each prechorus. The song ends almost religiously on a brilliant mix of harmonies and organ that the band uses to close the album with yet another showcase of their songwriting skills.

Monroe Park‘s self-titled EP is a great showcase record of a band with some solid songwriting chops, versatile ability to cover several genres to immense effect, an ear for how to commit it to the recording and the technical skill to back it all up. The EP is tight and concise package with very little drag in it to speak of and could only really be critiqued for lack of a consistent sound from those who might take issue with the genre-hopping. Needless to say the follow-up to this record has a lot to live up to after this impressive first outing.

Download the EP for free here! 

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