Sunday, August 14, 2011

Album Review: Sainthood Reps - Monoculture

There are plenty of methods of expressing angst and disapproval. Music is a common vessel for such an endeavor. Often these efforts result in the screaming of cliché symbolism and the relentless pounding of double bass, or minute long songs with hectic yelling of anti-establishment sentiments. While effective, these methods of expression feel overdone and rarely leave those responsible with any personality or identity. Sainthood Reps chooses a different path for their artistic expression. The Long Island natives choose to have their voice heard over a dark, grunge influenced indie rock soundscape. Signing to Tooth & Nail at the close of 2010, Sainthood Reps’ debut, Monoculture, is out August 9th with production by Mike Sapone (Brand New, Crime In Stereo).

Monoculture is an interesting examination of Sainthood Reps’ various indie and hardcore influences. The record feels a bit eclectic, from the depths of the heavyweight title track to the ambient indie vibe of Telemarketer. Some of the raw aggression of the title track is felt again at various points throughout the record, but as a whole the record is a bit more tame, becoming more and more low key all the way to the dramatic and self-serving Hunter. Guitarist Derrick Sherman’s presence is obvious, as the harder hitting sections of Monoculture have a Daisy vibe to them and the guitar work on Animal Glue might as well be a Brand New b-side. Monoculture is well written and carefully structured; the attitude of the band changes from song to song but the progression is logical and feels natural. It is a well-polished product with a strong sense of identity and direction.

Monoculture’s success at hitting its target musically is pleasing but not particularly impressive. Though enjoyable, the conclusion of the record did not leave me with a strong urge to start over. Perhaps the record’s biggest weakness is its lyricism. Dark, vague, dramatic, and artsy, the lyrics of Monoculture are not quite satisfying. Though they fit the mood perfectly, they are not particularly appealing. “Holiday Maker” daringly starts with ‘You walked in your garage and closed the door behind you, and then you turn on the ignition. You open all your windows wide and close your eyes.’ The song then proceeds to talk about a corporate giant falling into the Atlantic. Though I appreciate Sainthood Rep’s effort to relate to the business man who feels like he’s drowning, at various points throughout Monoculture it feels as though the band is trying too hard. “Holiday Maker” would have been better served starting “Tin soldiers and Nixon coming…”

Despite its shortcomings, Monoculture is a mature and effective debut, a claim I make confidently because Monoculture really does not feel like a debut. Sainthood Reps do not lack talent, and, perhaps with less effort put into trying to impress, future releases will be sure to satisfy.


1. Monoculture
3. Telemarketer
4. Animal Glue
5. Hunter
6. No/Survival
7. Hotfoot
8. Holiday Makers
9. reactor, reactor, reactor, REACTOR!
10. Widow

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