Fast-paced chaos ala “Red Blood” and charming post-punk melodicism from the likes of “Dont Move” and “Walking Legs” the same, Monsoon isn’t looking to create a conservative rock sound in their new record Ghost Party. On the contrary, indulgence is frequent in tracks like the title cut, “Pigpen,” and “Submission,” each of which provides us a deeper insight into what kind of aesthetics Monsoon values over others.
The minimalist pop movement has been gaining traction with a lot of players from around the world right now, but if you ask me, this Georgia-station indie act is not interested in making black and white American pop/rock so much as they want to put a special branding on abrasive noise rock normally reserved for the avant-garde punk rock community alone. This is big, loud, intense music in the style of My Bloody Valentine, but it lacks the singularity of traditional post-rock and shoegaze, which makes its lyrical content all the more gripping and central to how we understand the stories being told in the tracklist. Ghost Party is indeed multilayered, and to appreciate its detail, we must start at the beginning and move forward.
Listen to Ghost Party below
The noise rock influence over everything from the title track to “Third Voice” and “Dark Colossus” is inescapable, but it never sounds like more of an homage than a genuine influence buried within the DNA of this material. The harmonies between singer and backdrop in this record are ironically the most shoegaze-inspired component of the music, and I would even say that they demand more of the guitar-heavy arrangement than the other way around.
Songs like “Submission,” “Nightshop,” and “Beetlebee” exist outside of the aesthetical model for the other songs here, and yet they don’t sound like they’re being forced into their place in Ghost Party at all – the exact opposite, truth be told. The guitar parts really do control the narrative in most of these tracks, and I think that when compared side by side with the lyrical substance of the LP, they actually have something too grand to compete with. Instrumental prowess is everything to Monsoon, and it’s hard to hear their new album without being reminded of as much.
Broodingly poetic on one side and intent on riff-mashing like few can on the other, Ghost Party is a hard record to put down if you’re a fan of suffocating hard rock and seriously melodic songcraft fused together. Monsoon doesn’t pretend to be reinventing the wheel in this LP, but they’re also not shy about experimenting with the limits of their sound as it would be supported by bands similar to them both in and outside of their legendary local scene. This might be the most well-rounded rock album I’ve listened to since the start of the new year, and save for a couple of indie spins that I found closer to the end of 2021, it’s absolutely ranking as one of the best uses of surreal songwriting I’ve come across in a long, long time now.