Edmund II-Floating Monk
Record Label: Self Released
Release Date: June 26, 2012
Hailing from the Midwest scene of ’98, Edward Pellino and his cello-rock band, Utah! shared stages with the likes of The Promise Ring, Guided By Voices, Ted Leo and The Lemonheads. Now you’re probably wondering, ‘why have I not heard of this young man and his merry rock?’ Well you’re certainly not in the minority. Despite their famous stagemates, Utah! never did take off from their one room apartment on bottom floor of the underground and sadly disbanded in 2005. However, Edward Pellino didn’t stay quiet for long and, after a few side projects, in 2009, Edward Pellino teamed up with Alex Cox, Jeff Gensterblum, Dave Patterson and Chris Weingarten to create indie rock under the guise of Edward II. Three years and twelve tracks later, and Edmund II have released their debut album Floating Monk, a record filled with atmospheric folk-tinged indie.
The album is made up of an interesting and, at times, somewhat curious, mixture. Edmund II’s sound can swing from the atmospheric, acoustic driven folk of opener ‘Golden Ring’ to the synth led instrumental of “Sabato”, and back to middle ground with the straight up rock out of “Oxitine”. The only complete link between each track is the shoegaze vibe that cloaks much of the album. Whilst variety is always welcome, it can be somewhat disconcerting at times, as if the band are lacking a cohesive idea for their music and just threw in absolutely anything they could write.
Putting the lack of continuity between the tracks to one side, Edmund II are certainly a talented band. Pellino’s vocals are on par throughout the release, with his soft tone complimenting the relaxed air of the album. His voice lends the record a mature feel, and at times he sounds like a quieter version of Cursive’s Tim Kasher. The instrumentation is skilfully executed with the aforementioned instrumentals “Sabato” and “Oxitine” standing up alone without seeming like intervals of sorts. The acoustic lull of “High Tide & Wide Eyed” displays a tender side of the band, and is a highlight of the release.
Floating Monk is certainly a good, if not great, album. However, the aforementioned lack of continuity is too big a problem to ignore and is a major detractor from the release. The song-writing would be on the spot if this was a b-sides or rarities compilation, but Edward II need more focus to create a great album. Hopefully there is more to come.