The Montauk Project - Trees Against Skies EP
Record Label: None
Release Date: June 26, 2007
Everyone wants their album to make an impression on people, some kind of statement that resonates from the music but could never really be said in words. Well, everyone who isn’t chasing a price tag instead of a vision. It's way easier said than done though, and it takes a focused set of musicians to build something truly haunting. Metalheads milk cheesy lyrics to their extreme heights and hit feedback drenched dischords for optimum creepiness, but if I’m ever releasing a horror movie, it’s gonna be post-rock based, not Rob Zombie based, and I’m going to give The Montauk Project a call.
I was flat out shaken by these four brooding indie opuses, and the first thought that occurred to me when I finished listening to the album was that this was a band who really knew what they wanted to do. This is the sound of the arrow hitting the bull’s eye, and it’s an easy target to miss: a band with fewer bouncing, catchy basslines up their sleeves would be called boring, and one with just slightly longer instrumental phrasing would be considered pretentious. In perfect balance The Montauk Project share their bleak outlook in a manner both frightening and catchy.
The music is so simple, but it’s just so well put together! It sticks with you in part because of the guitarist’s subtle use of delay to bulk up his arpeggios, but also because of little touches like the backwards guitar (always my favorite effect) on “East Troy is a Deadzone,” or the muffled fade out of that same song. Both embellishments are reminiscent of Majority Rule’s sprawling instrumental phrasing, dark and wholly unsettling.
You gotta love the complete disregard for the airwaves in any post rock group – it’s just a form so far outside the box. There’s too much heart in these songs to fit into a verse chorus verse outfit.
This group does have a singer (lots of post rock groups don't), but he uses his voice like a supporting instrument, kind of low in the mix, harmonizing the jagged strums of the guitar. He’s got a good voice – kind of Portugal. The Man–ish – but the drowning effect of the production is absolutely perfect for the group’s sound.
My magic eightball says these guys won’t be in the Chicago shadows for very much longer, and I’ll use all my critiquing power right here to recommend the shit out of them. Let’s all hope that soon enough the band will update their show calendar on Myspace from one show to... a lot more than one show.