Menu | Rating System | Guest Book
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
(Older reviews archived alphabetically by artist name.)

  Last Night Something Happened  
  Monster Movie  
Release Date:
Reviewed by:

Sometimes, when a band breaks up, you become surprised at what becomes of the various ex-members. Take, for example, Slowdive. Who would have guessed, after listening to Pygmalion, that Neal Halsted would, in a mere 4 albums, transform his sound from sparse almost ambient soundscapes to generic folk-rock? After hearing the last Mojave 3 disc, and a little of his latest solo album, i wonder why he gave up trying to make interesting music and instead has devoted his time to trying to be Nick Drake?

And what happened to the rest of the band anyway? I mean, Rachel Goswell let Halstead carry her off into crappy folk-rock land, but what about the rest of them?

Well, it turns out that Christian Savill, one of the guitarists, has hooked up with his old buddy Sean Hewson to form Monster Movie. In fact, apparently Savill and Hewson were in a band pre-Slowdive, and now they are re-united. And, it turns out, Savill had some amazing talent for writing catchy melodies.

Last Night Something Hapenned is a nice bouncey album of decent songs. However, the choruses on almost all of the songs are unbelievably catchy! It's as if the real strength of Monster Movie is writing a catchy chorus that gets your toes tapping and your head bopping, while the rest of their songs (the verses) are just filler between choruses.

Okay, not really. The songs are good, but the choruses where the guitars swell up and the voices step forward in harmony -- that's some really nice stuff. Quite brilliant actually. My favorite is Winter Is Coming. This has some great bass work, and Savill plays an acoustic guitar throughout. The chorus, though: WOW! The acoustic gets louder, some phase shifting kicks in, the keys drone, and Savill and Hewson harmonize. It's a very powerful moment.

But the album is not all sunshine and catchy choruses. There are, for example, two instrumental tracks. First Trip To The City starts the album off with a loud keyboard drone, sily drum machine riff, and spaced out guitar. The other instrumental is Star City, and i either love this song or hate it. (I honestly can't decide.) An organ drones and a radio stutters something in, i think, Russian. In the background a helicopter circles, the "chop-chop-chop" sound of it's whirring blades making the only rhythm in the song. It's relaxing and unnerving at the same time, and does a lovely fade into the title track, which is called 4th And Pine. This track is, by itself, a lovely and happy little pop tune with darker lyrics:

A shadow
That's all i seem to be
That's all i seem to be
I am a shadow of all i used to be

Not an uplifting message, but yeah, i understand that whole "some people fade into the mass of humanity" thing. Or is Savill singing about his role as the guitarist in a band with a star? Is this song a complaint about the undeserved attention Mr. Halstead is getting?

Well Christian, you've convinced me: Monster Movie is now officially the more interesting half of Slowdive. Period.

Now that i have offered my little affirmation to the band, let me talk about my favorite song on the disc. It's the second track, and is called Shortwave. It is, quite frankly, be one of the poppiest toe-tappingest tunes i have heard in many a year. It features guitar phase shifted almost to the point of ridiculousness (it wavers back and forth between the channels almost dizzingly), light pianowork, a chiming guitar over the phase, and some fun little vocals. The lyrics are so fun to sing along with too:

I got a message from the underground
They told me
They never got your call.
Did your soul not shine?
Did your day turn into night?
Did you feel that your days are behind you?

Hmmm. It appears that this song too might be about being an unrecognized peon in someone else's band. I mean, let's face it, when you think Slowdive you think of Halstead and Goswell, not Savill! Apparently the poor boy has issues!

He shouldn't though. Not if he can make music like this. It's lovely little pop, and i recommend it to anyone who likes bouncey music. Yes, that means you. Give it a listen. Help Christian Savill realize that he is a talented musician in his own right, and that he really shines now that he is out from under the burden of supporting Halstead and Goswell.

If this is the type of music he had to offer, i wonder why it took seven years? It's a shame we had to wait this long!

Related Links:

None available.


Return to the top of this page. | Return to the Album Review menu.