International Hello – s/t LP (Holy Mountain)

The members of Monoshock, a monstrous Bay Area acid-psych A-bomb that detonated in the ‘90s, reconvene under a name they used as a song title. This isn’t reunion as much as it is reorganization. Comets on Fire expanded upon nearly all of Monoshock’s themes anyway, and it’s refreshing to hear that the members of a powerful band won’t rest on their laurels in the decades to follow. The opening behemoth “Arise Superslide” announces their departure in familiar form, by blasting the paint and Sonex off the studio walls. It’s a formidable smear of heavy motor-psych blasting, but there’s not enough room for complacency, voices jumping in and out of the fray, as crushing rhythms shift around, bass surges up and down, and an overactive synths catfights the guitar. Verse chorus verse, something most Monoshock songs were proud to bear, is out of the Int’l. Hello lexicon, never shows up here at all. Some will want to reach for an easy latter-day companion band like Wooden Shjips, and while this band shares in their stance on repetition, the Hello wants to push the listener as far as they can push themselves. Plenty of other bands would have taken a walking blooz knuckledrag like “Someone’s Coming,” and never considered the vicelike mindgrip that the ricocheting sound of musical confusion could throw into the mix. Elsewhere we have a short synth piece, and the closer “8 Seconds,” which has the dazed raga-like rock retreat not heard this well since the Sun City Girls parted ways with Majora. Quite an accomplishment – maybe we don’t need to listen to the youth to get excited after all. (
(Doug Mosurock)