Sainthood Reps - Monoculture
Record Label: Tooth and Nail Records
Release Date: August 9, 2011
As much as I've been excited about the return (for a lack of a better word) of the great hardcore and post-hardcore that I grew up with throughout high school and college, there's also a good number of bands harnessing a sense of great "rock music" again - with the great alternative underbelly I clung to early while making mixtapes from the radio in grade school. Now bands like Nirvana, Pavement, Built to Spill, Far, and HUM are still resonating years later with their lush guitar tones and bold, atmospheric styling some of us missed the boat on. Yeah, you were really into that, weren't you? Even better, there is a group of bands standing out amongst the rest for revitalizing and creating their own allusion to those days. One band's debut sticks out the most among the rest this year.
Monoculture relies heavily on distorted guitars worthy of a practice garage and bass tones that are blatantly thick during the most downtrodden of times. Sainthood Reps' debut not only stands as a throwback to the rock (both underground and alternative radio hits) that many of us older music fans grew up with, but it might just shake a newer generation into listening to a another palette of music before their back-cataloged time. As "Hunter" sits as the mid-album, slow-inching ballad opposite the title track's blasting opener, most of the tracks on Monoculture combine the moods of each songs' polar ends. "DINGUS" sounds like a BUZZCUT b-side, while "Hotfoot" rhythmically attracts through and through. "reactor, reactor, reactor, REACTOR!" has post-rock tendencies worthy of the band's My Bloody Valentine influence, but it flushes out all its own.
Lyrically, the aforementioned song is quite repetitive. If there is one flaw to the depth of Monoculture, it is its lyrical prowess. There's nothing in the words, excluding a few songs, that will bring you back. Instead it's how the short writings are weaved and layered throughout the instruments' frequencies, and it works perfectly on the best tracks of the album. "Animal Glue" is a trigger of aggression and shoegazing juggled back and forth until its violent end. "Holiday Makers" is a drugged version of the former, fleeting out its ending in a verbal round of repetition. What Sainthood Reps excel at on their debut is the way the songs completely let you sink into the tones at their most melodic moments.
The band has crafted a sleeper hit this year. The reason I say sleeper is because some people will immediately reference the band as "that guy who tours with Brand New," but Monoculture is more than that. With the slow blooming "Widow" to close things out - easily the album's standout - there are hints of Built to Spill's well cherished back catalog. The layering, crescendoing and uneasy feeling of the whole thing is just magnificent, and might be one of the best closers of the year. Sainthood Reps not only attempted to reference the music that led them to pick up an instrument, they're succeeding in recreating their rooted allusions for the next generation to explore.
Can't believe T&N has actually signed a good band. Although if there is no real depth to the lyrics I'm not sure if I'll connect with the album. Still, it's nice to be listening to music from T&N that actually sounds good!
Extremely excited for their release. My band opened for these guys in CT when they came around with North Korea. Thier set was one of the best I've seen in a long time. Live, the songs just destroy (in a very good way).