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Monsters of Folk

Monsters of Folk

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Album Review

When M. Ward, Mike Mogis, Jim James, and Conor Oberst announced plans to record an album together, fans were quick to link the supergroup to the Traveling Wilburys, who blazed a similar path 20 years earlier. Truth be told, Monsters of Folk's emphasis on harmony vocals and atmospheric arrangements has just as much in common with the work of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, even if the political concerns that grounded that group are mostly absent here. Instead, the self-titled Monsters of Folk tackles topics like religion, nature, love, and lust, with all four songwriters sharing vocals and songwriting credits. Mogis, who rose to prominence by playing a central but somewhat surreptitious role in Bright Eyes, receives less screen time than the others, preferring instead to stay behind the scenes as producer and sideman. Even so, his guitar solo during "Say Please" is one of the album's loudest moments, and his production helps draw the album together. That's important, because there are multiple genres at work here, from trip-hop to rootsy rock to homely, homespun pop. Spread over 15 tracks, the combination wears thin at several points, and a few of the songs feel like solo material as opposed to a composite product. Monsters of Folk has moments on flat-out beauty, though, and when the musicians pitch their voices together — as they do on the gorgeous "Slow Down Jo" — the teamwork really shines through.

Customer Reviews

Monsters of folk...

One of the best works in my opinion from the great Conor Oberst. From the mellow soulfulness of Termazcal, to the tenacious beats of Man Named Truth and Map of the world this album can do no wrong. I do hope they collaborate to create another album with a greater magnitude as listening to this album you can see they have more to give. Map of the world would have to be the highlight of this fantastic album!

Biography

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Monsters of Folk were formed around the talents of indie rock giants Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes), M. Ward (She & Him), and Jim James (My Morning Jacket). Conceived in 2004, the project gradually formed out of on-stage collaborations and backstage hootenannies while the four musicians were on tour with their respective bands and solo projects. The members of this cheekily titled "supergroup" may come from folk backgrounds, but their style falls squarely in the "classic rock" camp....
Full Bio
Monsters of Folk, Monsters of Folk
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Contemporaries