Fin Fang Foom – Monomyth

Fin Fang Foom - Monomyth

Monomyth is the third LP, the first in six years, from Chapel Hill, North Carolina’s Fin Fang Foom. The trio of Eddie Sanchez (guitars/keyboards/vocals), Michael Triplett (guitars) and Mike Glass (drums) are not a typical post-rock band as they explore the duality of spacey and brooding, yet potent, guitars and a fiercely rumbling, cavernous wall of sound for a darkened blend of progressive alt-rock and post-rock that sets a somber mood from the get go.

There are no real pop hooks and not very many hummable melodies, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any cool and melodic passages lurking under the rough exterior. Echoing and textured precision guitar work hovers over a desolate post-rock infrastructure as layers of churning and chugging rhythms are added and delivered with a decidedly aggressive edge. It’s often a roller-coaster of twisting and turning tempos that frequently plunge headlong into a frothy mix of turbulent bass, drums, keyboards and guitars. While the music could be an acquired taste, the vocals are rather coarse but somehow fit the style of music, albeit in a mostly generic way that neither adds nor subtracts from the experience.

Fin Fang Foom strives hard not to be a run-of-the-mill, post-rock band and it pays off in spades on a couple of tracks. The band are at their best when they pull in the reigns and take a step back from the scalding riffs and whirling dervish of cymbal crashes to breathe a breath of fresh air into the proceedings by exploring different rock textures. With the combination of eerie violin and slower, more melodic passages, songs like “Lonely Waves”, “Breathless”, “Nome, Alaska” and “The Great Race of Mercy” can almost stand toe to toe with the moody guitar rock found on Radiohead’s OK Computer.

But just when you think Fin Fang Foom is going to shed the brawn in favor of more groove oriented outbursts, they revert back to heavier rock territory with pounding, rhythmic guitars and prog-style drumming. The overall results are too often disjointed that the antagonistic and convoluted mix of post-rock and progressive alt-rock doesn’t provide enough for the listener to hold on to. And while I respect the way the band ignores commercialism and plays a unique brand of rock that defies categorization, a little less unguided frenzy and a little more tempered structure might allow this reviewer to recommend Monomyth.

Recommended tracks: “Lonely Waves” and “Breathless”

Lovitt Records: www.lovitt.com