The new record from Monster Rally, Flowering Jungle, out today on Gold Robot Records, is the sort of thing that charms immediately. It is also, it probably goes without saying, utterly unlike anything else being offered up in the current indie-pop landscape.
Ted Feighan, the man who is behind Monster Rally like Oz behind that curtain, has made something here that depends on a wealth of near-kitsch and wholly-retro samples in the service of the creation of something uniquely fresh and proto-modern. If light-as-air instrumentals like "Tideline" and "Sunshine" suggest anything, it's the sort of tunes once created by Martin Denny and folks in that generation. Similarly, tracks like "Giant Leaves" and "Rio" add in waves of tropicalia and other genres to flavor the selections with hooks that offer a sort of nostalgic joy, as well as a sense of escape. And, yes, there are loads of moments here where the songs seem suited to being played while waves lapped a shore, or palm trees swayed in the breeze ("Sunny Sloths", "Toucans"), and a few others ("Love", "Let's Go Faraway") that recall both cocktail jazz as well as instrumental numbers from the likes of Super Furry Animals and High Llamas, however briefly.
A pleasant and sun-dappled surprise,Flowering Jungle by Monster Rally is a burst of joy. It is the sort of thing to re-affirm one's determination to seek out new music, especially when stuff like this is out there waiting to be discovered.
Flowering Jungle by Monster Rally is out today on Gold Robot Records.
[Photo: Casey Catelli]