“You can’t judge a book by its cover”? I totally disagree with that statement, at least in the context of this review. YouTube and boredom can definitely lead you down some interesting paths. Therefore, I decided to do an experiment of sorts. I type into the search bar “best indie bands” and I am immediately hit with hundreds if not thousands of results. So I decide to narrow my search to “best math rock bands” I was hit with only a few results – maybe a dozen or so. I click the fourth one from the top and I discover maybe one of the strangest combinations of sounds I have encountered in my nearly quarter century of existence. Behold, Monster Machismo self described as, “experimental/ indie/ nu jazz”. To be honest I cannot argue with them over how they characterize their sound. To try and pigeonhole them in any sort of genre is futile, as their sound influence is always changing. Instead of categorizing them I will do the next best thing, list their musical neighbors: Algernon Cadwallader and Duck Little Brother Duck! maybe even a dash of The Number 12 Looks like You.
Tourette guitars, turret drumming, “Hey Arnold” references, absurdist lyrics, and the occasional acoustic guitar solo; so are you still interested? If so this may be the band you are looking for. Aye Aye Porcupine is the musical equivalent of children who color outside of the lines – sure you can be neat, tidy, and uniformed but what is the fun in that? The word schizophrenic does not even begin to describe the frequent and constant mutability of each song. There is a conspicuous math rock feel to the music. Each arrangement manages to throw in several twists such as acoustic guitar solos, instrumental segments that feel like entirely different songs, and just an overall busyness that never manages to overwhelm the listener. The guitars can range from spacey to spastic as they are accompanied by the often fitful drumming. If one thing can be said about the five songs on this album it is this, each of the songs sounds completely unique and different from one another. The songs that stand out are, “Kiss Kiss Pessimist,” “Time Portal Fiasco,” and “Moonlight Mashbomb”. The lyrics are absurdist in the philosophical sense. There is a general feeling of disillusionment throughout the album’s duration, and the lyrics manage to convey this in a playful and cryptic manner. The vocals are a little bit on the ska punk side, as they manage to be throaty and guttural at the same time.
Monster Machismo will throw you a curveball, explanation never takes the place of experience and these guys have to be heard. As strange as Monster Machismo is I would recommend these guys to everyone I know. Why? Well, in many ways for the same reasons I would recommend X Ray Press, for stepping out of a comfort zone and having a good time while doing so. At the same time I feel like these guys have a broad appeal to them and the music is not so technical that it becomes a chore to listen to. It’s great to be able to say the music is toe-tapping, air guitar solo, drunk karaoke fun.