Review: Monoculture – “Life Goes By”

Psych/jazz from Texas? I’ll take it!

Dallas’ Monoculture tomorrow will release “Life Goes By,” the first single available from its forthcoming LP. (The song already is available on YouTube.) If the track is any indication, that record will be a crescent of intersecting points, as the band, finely recorded here, resembles a mélange of Austin psych-rockers The Sun Machine, post-jazz legends Tortoise, and a Jon Brion film suite circa Magnolia.

Working in largely instrumental terrain, Monoculture carves grooves out of linear patterns, and the buoyant bass – and its interplay, no less, with a loosely footed bass drum – keeps things light without being flippant. Organ is prominent without being gaudy and its pseudo-solo with woodwinds near the three-minute mark is enticing stuff. The vocals, borderline tinny, feel at odds with the smooth melody-color but the frontman’s dedication to emoting makes it feel like one neatly interwoven package.

Monoculture has been making a name for itself in Dallas and one only hopes the new record is as surely plotted as this single. And if they could tear down the well-hanged draperies and, contrary to their clear composure, let things below the surface boil a bit? All the better! – Justin Vellucci, Swordfish, Feb. 1, 2018

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About the author

Justin Vellucci is a staff writer for PopMatters, Spectrum Culture, and MusicTAP, a contributor to Pittsburgh Current, and a former staffer for Popdose, Punk Planet and Delusions of Adequacy. His music writing has appeared in national magazines such as American Songwriter, alt-pubs like The Brooklyn Rail, Pittsburgh CityPaper and San Diego CityBeat, blogs Swordfish, Punksburgh and Linoleum, and the Gannett magazine Jetty. He lives in Pittsburgh.

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