Super Duper Group
Finding an exceptional super group is not only a difficult endeavor. It almost never happens. It’s one thing being successful in one’s own projects; it is a completely different task to collaborate as one unit. That is exactly what the Monsters of Folk have done and in a highly effective and pleasantly brilliant way.
In their self-titled debut album, Jim James of My Morning Jacket, Coner Oberst and Mike Mogis of Bright Eyes, and M. Ward of She and Him all fuse as one to bring one of the best folk albums in the past few years. Each track respectively illustrates extraordinary, stylistic music, and it is very clear that the entire band all had their hands in the mixture. Lead single “Say Please” is a vibrant pop-folk medley that exhibits the sheer uniqueness of their songwriting, as well as some well-crafted guitar work. One cannot help but agree with the consensus of the music world and its comparisons of this group to the outstanding Traveling Wilburys. Though Dylan, Harrison, Lynne, Orbison, and Petty are large shoes to fill, this band takes a good shot at it and delivers the vintage folk songs with a modern vision.
Classical folk is heard in tracks such as “Whole Lotta Losin’” and “Baby Boomer.” James is quite amazing in his lead vocals, though it does not hurt being around other well-established musicians. Perhaps, if one thing could be changed, it’s that the sharing of songwriting may have brought along too many tracks and it could have been trimmed down a bit. That said, every track is well worth listening to, for all seem to deliver spot-on beats, agreeable melodies, and countless amiable tunes to fill the mind on a warm afternoon.