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Farside: The Monroe DoctrineThe Monroe Doctrine (1999)
Reviewer Rating: 4.5
Contributed by: ScruffyScruffy
(others by this writer | submit your own)
There’s a reason that in a 2006 issue of Alternative Press, the head of Revelation Records placed Farside’s The Monroe Doctrine among the top five albums the label has ever released. What I can’t understand is how this album seems to have slipped off the radar and into relative obscurity. While the rest of the band’s output was good for what it was, The Monroe Doctrine is one of the best albums of the nineties, one that seems to nod to everything from melodic punk/hardcore to indie rock and even post-punk.
Scream the saddest song you know.The diversity of this album is incredible, too. The songs range from slow and sympathetic (“I Hope You’re Unhappy,” “The Slowdance”) to fast and very angry (“Teach Me How to Die,” “Bled”), yet the contrast only serves to add importance to each song. The aforementioned diversity, however, is also one of the few weak points of the album. There are a handful of songs --from joke song “The Lonesome Ballad of El Bobo the Cranky,” “Liz Hurley,” which sounds like a riff they couldn’t develop into a song but wanted to use anyway, and “Save It for the Children,” which sounds like a joke song with its death metal growl, but may, indeed, be serious -- that bring the album down, if only momentarily.
But the musicianship of this album makes up for any missteps anywhere else. The Monroe Doctrine is one of the best examples of what a band can do if they really try. Every instrument -- bass, guitar, drums and vocals -- does exactly what it needs to do every second of this disc. Even the folksy cover of Graham Parker’s “Blue Highway” doesn’t seem out of place (and it also manages to show off how amazing Popeye’s voice is).
It may have taken Farside five years to put this album out, but they clearly spent every moment making it the best it could be. It took Dear You a few years to become revered as the perfect album it is. It’s possible that this album, someday, will get its due as well. Go get this album now. You will not regret it.
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