Framed in the simplicity of a black and white cover, eight gnarled, contorted faces reach out to seize your imagination; gaping mouths silently scream outpourings of unfathomable emotions, inexpressible anguish, frustrations beyond the limits of endurance, indescribable despairs, merciless torments, frozen snapshots capturing moments of a life frozen in time. Monsters Lament.
These evocative visual vignettes beautifully capture and express the musical energy which underpins an album comprised of alluring scenes and impressionistic moments which tease and allude to those fleeting, transitory experiences which make up a life. Our lives. All our lives. The song titles themselves signpost the ephemeral nature of the things which happen to us, lament the passage of time, the fading of memory yet nevertheless demand recognition. They will not be lost, like tears in rain. They make us who and what we are.
Peter Rand and Nick DeNardo build a beguiling album of bewitching simplicity and graceful elegance, through which and because of which captivating nuance is delightfully conveyed and flashes of discernment gently revealed. All of this becomes possible because of the amazing mix, which creates the space, the depth and the sheer resonance to allow the music to live and breathe.
Opening (title) track Monsters Lament is the perfect example of just how this sumptuous soundstage conjures an embracing musical magic. Listen for what is not there; no clutter, no busyness, no needless intricacies. The mix creates the space for the music to be clean, simple and – most of all – heard. The opening acoustic guitar gives way to a floating, mesmerising synth carried by a phenomenally accentuated bass line and crystal-clear drums. But it’s the echoing space between them which makes it work and, as the song evolves, it is that same space which allows the gentle building of layers which impart musical momentum.
Present Imperfect gives us a change of mood and tone. A Gilmouresque guitar fills the centre stage, slightly fuzzed, slightly ill-defined, but supported again by a deep bass undertow, supplemented with wonderful keyboard layers against which it stands out and shines. Front Rooms is a wistfully joyful intertwining of piano and guitar, along with solo bass passages. Listen carefully. There is almost a complete absence of background this time. Everything is to the front, open, transparent, each instrument having its time, its place, its own clear voice.
Power Vacuum is a wickedly clever performance of exactly what ‘power’ and ‘vacuum’ mean in the context of music. The magnificent guitar of Francois Vingrief dominates the soundscape, imperious, commanding, dominating attention. But listen to what happens when it stops. You notice the absence. But as a consequence, you also notice what is going on with the other instruments in the vacuum created. The guitar kicks back in; your attention switches. It stops – the background comes to the fore once more.
Faded is a majestic lesson in how less is more. A warm, caressing keyboard embrace sets the scene with a piano dominating the foreground. But listen. How many times do you hear a guitar? And when you do, how many notes does it play? Just the one. The rest is your imagination filling in the gaps and the echo of a distant keyboard suggesting all sorts of possibility. The fading musical voice recedes into the distance and into the past; once, it was here, but no more. Faded echoes, lingering memories.
Monsters Lament is more – so much more – than you are initially led to believe. Let it entice you, seduce you, lure you into its ingenious spaces and delicious places where an inviting creativity lovingly crafts canvas after canvas of musical delights and innovation.
01. Monsters Lament (5:34)
02. Beauty in Dust (5:13)
03. Present Imperfect (3:27)
04. Front Rooms (4:01)
05. Look The Other Way (4:25)
06. Power Vacuum (3:54)
07. Love Approaches Winter (5:43)
08. Faded (3:54)
09. Lost Property (4:30)
10. Small World (3:19)
11. Walking Man (4:13)
Total Time – 48:13
Nick DeNardo – Drums, Mixing, Mastering
Peter Rand – Keyboards, Guitars, Music
Jim Bryan – Bass (tracks 1,3,4 & 6)
Moe Howard – Mellotron (track 1)
Francois Vingrief – Lead Guitar (tracks 1 & 6)
Phil Pansard – Bass (track 2)
Piergiorgio Lucidi – Guitars (track 3)
Chris Branch – Bass (tracks 5,8 & 11)
Tony Wisniewski – Bass (track 7)
Steve Johnson – Bass (track 9)
Timothy Reid – Lead Guitar (track 9)
Joey Six – Lead Guitar (track 10)
Kelly Miller – Guitars, FX (track 11)
Record Label: Independent
Country of Origin: U.S.A. / U.K.
Date of Release: 29th August 2022