I am still more than a little in awe of the seemingly endless amount of good music that the Pacific Northwest has turned out over the past 20 years. Nirvana, The Melvins, Unwound, Bikini Kill, Modest Mouse, Sleater- Kinney, Wild Flag; I could go on forever.
That’s hyperbole. I could not go on forever. I’m weak, limp wristed, and apathetic.
You got me.
The latest contender is Absolute Monarchs, a four-piece who live and die by the ancient art of the riff. They might be the riffiest band I’ve heard in a while. Not like, self-indulgent Van Halen riffing. Think of the sharpest indie punkers, the Jesus Lizards, the Fugazis of the world. The kind of bands that have a knack for being memorable without stooping to the standards of a pop group.
Little bit more like The Pop Group.
Absolute Monarchs’ debut record, aptly titled 1, doesn’t so much proceed as it violently unravels, every track aggressive, creative and nasty. This is a band that merrily mixes genres while maintaining an overall pleasantly abrasive sonic quality. If you listen as closely as someone with all the spare time I have does, you can hear multiple influences co-existing peacefully. At certain points, they have a pleasant vibe that’s kind of shoegaze-y. At certain points, they have a heavy, post-hardcore edge, like, say, Frodus.
You can list influences all day long, but the larger point is this is a band seamlessly mingling with different genres with an overall outstanding result. This is one of the most intriguing new bands that I’ve heard in a long time. They’re a band to watch, to say the least, one whose promise seems to imply an inevitable musical growth spurt.
You’ve been warned.