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Sights and Sounds - Monolith (Cover Artwork)

Sights and Sounds

Sights and Sounds: MonolithMonolith (2009)
Smallman Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: InaGreendaseBrian
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Sights & Sounds' appropriately titled debut full-length, Monolith is a colossal, genre-spanning, hour-long epic of experimental rock layers that confound from start to finish. Brilliant? Not necessarily. Compelling? Oh, yeah. The side project of Comeback Kid's Andrew Neufeld, these are lengthy co.
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Sights & Sounds' appropriately titled debut full-length, Monolith is a colossal, genre-spanning, hour-long epic of experimental rock layers that confound from start to finish. Brilliant? Not necessarily. Compelling? Oh, yeah.

The side project of Comeback Kid's Andrew Neufeld, these are lengthy compositions that bear so many different musical moments that similarities are incredibly disparate. Sometimes Neufeld's grainy howling conjures up images of lighter post-Neurosis fare; when he murmurs in whispered hushes, the more brooding, pensive verses of No Motiv's "Death in Numbers" come to mind (especially in the half-acoustic "Pillars"); the explosions of overlapping guitars and moving wall of sound place even Angels & Airwaves' delay-ridden atmospheres in an area stripped of pomp and grandeur (okay, maybe a stretch; specifically, scope the intros of "Neighbours" and "Night Train").

Post-rock-type crescendos litter the first few minutes on Monolith before adventurous vocal deliveries and a more aggressive, swirling rock stance comes over "Storm & the Sun." Fuzzy, symphonic programming and ambient elements pervade its successor, "The Clutter," without necessarily delivering on the ills of such a title.

"Neighbours" has some of the best dynamics of the whole album, suddenly pounding into its first verse and then featuring what resembles a more standard and structured method of songwriting, yet with plenty of changes -- angelic, multi-tracked female vocals; fits of subtle keyboard layer; Neufeld's tense, gravelly fits; skittering, impressive stick work on the kit -- along the way. It's pretty throttling, as much as producer Devin Townsend fails to capture the full potential of those soft-to-loud transitions. There's more of a personal touch to "Pedal Against the Wind," and that's where Sights & Sounds sound best; sure, it's more easily categorized, but Neufeld sounds the most heartfelt and the song is still complex enough to be regarded as sort of a progressive-emo thing. It bubbles up in "Reconcile," too, where there's a level of angst that's totally acceptable because Neufeld's hook in the chorus is so rigidly aggro.

As unpredictable as Monolith is, it is lacking direction and a common thread, the latter both emotionally and subjectedly. But there's a few surefire standouts on the record and its sprawling ambition alone makes Monolith a more than worthy listen.

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Monolith

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.

Eeeh.. Wasn't this supposed to be a pop punk band? The first songs I heard a year or two ago sounded sort of like a more solid Grade with splashes of Silverstein..

I'm confused, but this is a pretty good record and he'll surely leave CBK for this band if the fan-reaction is what I bet it's going to be.

blanktapesemptybottles (July 1, 2009)

this is pretty great, why the hell didn't I like comeback kid before? maybe it was my old grudge with bands changing singers and keeping the same name, oh well still all around good

dev (June 30, 2009)

Caught the very very tail end of one of their sets about a year ago and in the short time I had to take it in, they sounded really good. I'll have to check this out.

jonnyrawker (June 30, 2009)

This is the first and only album i ever purchased off of itunes. Usually ill just download the album and order the vinyl. But i had to have this immediately. It's epic and amazing.
Devin Townsend is a god when it comes to production.
Neighbours blows my mind everytime i listen to it.
Check this shit out.

Blackjaw_x (June 30, 2009)

Also, I definitely think they are at their best in the 'third quarter' of the album... Pedal Against The Wind, Night Train, Reconcile and Subtle, Severe are all amazing. Two of those were on the EP as well, if that means anything.

Blackjaw_x (June 30, 2009)

Had downloaded the cd, liked it a lot, saw them live last night and they were fucking awesome. Bought a cd/shirt combo and have been listening to it all day, it's really good. I pretty much hate every band they are compared to though.

* * * * (4 stars)

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