“Sleep/Attack” by Rare Monk
Sleep/Attack begins with a drumbeat so confident you feel it could shake the earth. It sets the stage for one of the more pristine alternative rock releases in recent years. Opening track “Death by Proxy” keeps most of its instrumentation in the realm of washy, determined synthesizers, attacking percussion and dystopian guitars on the edge of techno-apocalypse. It becomes apparent early on that they take their cues from other produced-to-the-nines, garage-rock-be-damned outfits like Minus the Bear and As Tall as Lions. From track two on though, a poor man’s string section is added into the mix and the band establishes their own identity, distinctive from other bands who frequent the same sonic playground.
Songs like “Dreadnaught” and “Mama Bear” show a flare for dramatic orchestration which could be perceived either as the album’s greatest strength or weakness. They are a band unfamiliar with subtlety, restraint, and understatement. This is in-your-face, ascending/descending alternative rock, and it may very well be time to embrace another band like that.