Music is often used as a mean of catharsis and in some albums it’s clearer than in others. It seems the conceptual Brigadune by Monuments is the latter, but you get hints throughout. There’s nostalgia (a staple of the sound they are using), there’s urgency (thanks to the electronic elements the band uses) and there’s swift changes of pace, possibly addressing those stop/start/stop feelings you get after the 20s are over and the 30s see some attitudes cement.
‘Hypnagogia’ starts with a sample, which moves away from the front to the back, slowly making less sense until becoming distorted while a droning rock intro builds the pace, segueing into ‘Get a grip’, a fierce call to recover the satellites (so to speak). It’s unrelenting and ends up being chaotic, just like a moment of catharsis when you feel the urge to change everything, but need to control your mood swings to get it done. Slow and steady and all that.
‘You Decide’ & ‘We decide’ are diametrically opposed but intertwined by name. ‘You decide’ is peppier, having that sound that National Skyline had to build a delectable pop song with rock sensibilities (check the solo.) ‘We decide’ is very introspective, where the soundscapes have been turned down a lot. It’s an intimate moment, the first of many (or at least the first one to be obvious.) I like the nod to Radiohead here.
Equally opposing are ‘Soon’, a lively track and ‘Bonfire’, a gorgeous acoustic track that adds some atmospherics sounds and harmonising. It’s a sweet moment of respite that has a slightly creepy ending that reverbs and fades out. It’s a great lead in to ‘Sole Provider’, the catchy song that could work as the first single to get some new believers to the cult of Monuments. It’s hook-laden and catchy; the wiggling worm hoping to catch your attention.
Which is good, as your attention is required for the rope-a-dope that is ‘Gift’ and ‘Guard Rail’. ‘Gift’ is slowly paced, sports dual vocals in just the right parts and feels personal. It’s the nostalgia feeling you get throughout, really. Now, if ‘Sole Provider’ is the hook-laden one straight single, ‘Guard Rail’ is the rewarding, multi layered track. An ethereal beginning and then an explosive drum buildup yields a bass-heavy track that never goes full baroque, just builds upon a feeling of anxiety, letting it discharge slowly but steady. It’s never overtly loud, but is all about pacing.
‘Brigadune’ closes the album. No vocals, as the music speaks well enough here. It sports a funky bass, wind instruments and feels like a slower, grandiose brother to ‘Hypnagogia’. Maybe that is the concept of the album: start chaotically, let it all burn through, Ramayana-style and find an order within that chaos. Perhaps that order was what Monuments have found in Brigadune.
Words: Sam J. Valdés López