Album Review: Monuments - 'Existence'

29 July 2013 | 5:12 am | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

Catchy, emotive and energetic punk rock from Perth.

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Striking a precise balance between melody and energy, debut album 'Existence' sees Perth band Monuments demonstrate a clear affinity for catchy, highly visceral punk rock songs, crafting a collection of tracks that feel simultaneously youthful and nostalgic.

Openers 'Collide' and 'Burn' are immediately hooky, infectious numbers. There's a sense of catharsis resonating pretty vividly, and there's something incredibly refreshing about how straightforward and direct Monuments are in their delivery throughout the eleven numbers on 'Existence'. The band are tight and incendiary, with a blistering ferocity that breathes confidence. In saying that, it's by no means over-polished, and producer Jay Maas (Defeater, Have Heart) has captured the band's intensity in a way that still feels staunchly authentic. It's a perfect backdrop for frontman Caz Matarazzo to deliver his emotive, desperate vocals with the kind of fire-bellied harshness that gives considerable weight to the words behind them.

A nice surprise comes midway into the album on highlight 'Howl', with James Carroll of Make Do and Mend lending his vocal cords to the mix. Carroll and Matarazzo trading lines during a closing refrain of “Are you still searching?” is haunting. It wouldn't be a stretch to assume Monuments take some of their cues from the Connecticut four-piece; each track standing proudly alongside anything off MD&M's 2010 debut 'End Measured Mile'. Another highlight is the track that follows, “Lose You in the Crowd”, a slow-burning, confessional number that brings the melancholia to the forefront with expert gravity.

What holds 'Existence' together so strongly is that is flows well enough to be the sort of punk album that vehemently demands the listener take the album in its entirety, there's a coherent thread of hopeful, spirited defiance acting as the blood veins to the Monuments framework and it's largely why the album feels as honest and lively as it does. Clocking in at under 30 minutes, it doesn't drag on and retains healthy vivacity throughout.

Comparable with Hindsight labelmates Apart From This, Monuments have created a sincere, engaging and dynamic debut full-length. One of the most immediately gripping releases of late, with enough staying power to ensure it remains one of the better local albums of the year. Pick it up.

1. Collide

2. Burn

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3. Float

4. Machine And The Beast

5. Howl

6. Lose You In The Crowd

7. Cold Space

8. Dream In Sync

9. Curses

10. Genesis

11. Tomb