Monuments - Existence
Release Date: August 9, 2013
Record Label: Hindsight Records
Usually people associate pop-punk with summer and relationships and life in the suburbs, not with frustration and hopelessness. Australia's Monuments want to change that with the debut album Existence. Monuments' faster, rougher brand of pop-punk calls less to mind man Overboard and Real Friends, and more the likes of Title Fight's Last Thing You Forget.
The most notable aspect of the band is the vocalist, whose voice sounds remarkably like that of Vinnie Caruana (I Am the Avalanche). He particularly stands out in a genre dominated by singers with whinier or more nasally voices, and it's certainly a welcome deviation from that. At certain points when he drags out words he sounds almost like Jerry Jones of Trophy Scars, such as when he sings, "Everything that you're afraid of/ hidden out to sea/ will wash back up on shore eventually." at the beginning of album highlight "Howl."
That isn't to say he alone holds up the band. The aforementioned "Howl" features ferocious drumming, as well as a kickass appearance by James Carroll of Make Do and Mend that doesn't sound in the least out of place. The intro to "Float" sounds like classic pop-punk, and the drumwork on "Lose You in the Crowd" is reminiscent of "War on Nostalgia" by The Saddest Landscape. "Genesis" manages to simultaneously seem both catchy and aggressive.
So the major flaw present on Existence isn't in the quality of the songs. It's in the variety, or the lack thereof. Many of the songs run together, particularly on the front half. There's little change from the short, fast, and loud formula present through almost every track; the notable exception being the first forty seconds of "Lose You in the Crowd," the only time on the record we're given a break from the shouting and treated to some gruff clean vocals.
Despite the similarities of many of the songs, Existence is by no means a bad record, least of all a bad debut. Monuments have the potential to be your next favorite pop-punk band. Whenever their next album comes out, they very well could be that. Existence is, if nothing else, worth a listen.
"You planted me in the ground/ hoping that I'd grow somehow/ but I can't wait around."