The Upshot: Welcome return – and a return to form, as well – from the Camper Van B. offshoot.
BY MICHAEL TOLAND
It’s been thirteen years since Monks of Doom released an album, and twenty-five since it was a LP of original songs. Simply put, The Brontë Pin was worth the wait. Camper Van Beethoven members Victor Krummenacher (bass, guitar, vox), Greg Lisher (guitar) and Chris Pedersen (drums) join once again with multi-instrumentalist David Immerglück for a new odyssey into the realms of Middle Eastern psychedelia, atmospheric prog rock and dystopian paranoia.
On the Pink Floydian epic “The Last Leviathan,” the bitter folk punker “The Bastards Never Show Themselves” and the shimmering cover of Sandy Denny’s “John the Gun,” Krummenacher mutters and intones lyrics that seem emitted from his constantly shifting eyes, rather than his throat, but the music makes up for his discomfort. Which is as it should be – the Monks have always been more about the sounds they make than the words they sing. Thus the instrumentals are where Pin’s heart really lies. The versatile ensemble jumps from the disjointed funk of “The Honorable Death of the 100 Millions” and the proggy postpunk of “The Brontë Pin pt. 2” to the mando/synth psychedelia of “Duat! Duat!” and the American primitive folk of “Boar’s Head.”
For some bands, this kind of eclecticism would be a detriment, indicating an ADHD-addled lack of focus. For Monks of Doom, however, it’s a strength, as the group’s identity never wavers, no matter what path the band takes.
DOWNLOAD: “Boar’s Head,” “Duat! Duat!,” “John the Gun”