Record Reviews

Album review: Monster Magnet “A Better Dystopia”

Monster Magnet shines, as expected, on a terrific new covers album.

Monster Magnet’s new album “A Better Dystopia” is as good as expected. It sounds exactly as what I had expected it to sound like. While there are no surprises on this album, it is good, very good. What is different this time is that this is a covers album. But in true Monster Magnet-style, the song choices are not the obvious ones. This is basically a collection of covers of rarities and obscurities. It’s a smoking album with attitude. It is hazy and punky hard rock. Haze rock on a mission, a groovy mission. This is a musical road trip with motorcycles, fuzzy guitars, leather and denim and a bunch of great songs. As expected. If you dig Monster Magnet’s past output, you’ll dig this. I find it hard to resist the band’s attractive combination of swagger, riffs, groove and haze. Lots of haze. Vocalist Dave Wyndorf’s voice is at the very heart of this band’s sound. Whether he’s speaking, singing or screaming, his voice commands attention and gets it. Who knows where his mind has been? It doesn’t matter. He releases his thoughts and turn them into psychotic rock music and serves it up and into your ears on “A Better Dystopia”. Even when they are playing covers they still manage to make it all sound like Monster Magnet songs. The Pretty Things cover “Death” is one of the songs that are a bit different here with its slower tempo and exquisite musical arrangements. It’s somewhat naked and straightforward and it is my favourite track on a fab album. The single “Motorcycle (Straight To Hell)” (originally by English punk rockers Table Scraps) has a catchy punk vibe to it in a Ramones kind of way. Love it. Other favourite tracks include “Learning to Die” (a cover of a Dust song from 1972), “Mr. Destroyer” (a Poo-Bah cover), Hawkwind’s “Born to Go” and “Solid Gold Hell” (a The Scientists cover). Many of the tracks have a punk-rock feeling to them – probably a tip of the hat to Shrapnel, the New Jersey punk-rock band Dave Wyndorf and Phil Caivano were members of in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Monster Magnet’s new album “A Better Dystopia” will be released on 21st May via Napalm Records.