Monahans are named after West Texas sand dunes, but the band is quick to note their “songs aren’t so much about a particular geographic location as they are about contrast.” And it’s that exploration in contrasts that makes them such a compelling act. It was evident on their first two releases, Low Pining (2007) and Dim The Aurora (2009), and it’s apparent on their new albums, Leveler and Roam An Empty Space. While Roam An Empty Space is comprised primarily of the band’s 2010 monthly recording series (with some new additions), Leveler has nine previously unreleased songs plus a bonus track.
The concept of contrasts is key for Monahans but I think spacing is as well. It’s fascinating to focus on one instrument or aspect of a song, marvel at it, and then realize how it fits perfectly with what the other instruments are doing. I love how the drums consistently drive the music forward but the rhythm never overpowers the tune. The jagged guitars and keyboards are given ample space to evoke just the right feeling. Only a seasoned band with considerable talent can craft such intricate and suggestive mood music. The sounds are expertly layered and never overproduced, which is one of the things I most respect about Monahans. They’re able to be experimental and ambitious while maintaining the subtlety they are known for.
I know it’s hip to have a large vinyl collections but I haven’t got into the vinyl thing yet. However, if I ever did buy a record player I’d probably begin my collection with the full Monahans discography. Not only is the music great but they always have beautiful cover art. If vinyl is your thing, I highly recommend you pick up Leveler from Undertow Music. If you’re like me and prefer your music in a digital format, you can buy Leveler and Roam An Empty Space on iTunes or Amazon.
:Monahans – Forward Reverse:
:Monahans – Diamonds:
From Roam An Empty Space
:Monahans – I Break The Silence:
:Monahans – Seabirds: