Chocolate is delicious but it’s even better with peanut butter and pretzels and Monsters of Folk which features Jim James from My Morning Jacket, M. Ward, most recently of She & Him, and Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis of Bright Eyes might be the indie/alt. country/folk rock equivalent. Their premiere self-titled album is a sonically eclectic but thematically coherent musical piece and interestingly it strays quite a distance from “folk” music at times.
The band might be best compared to the original 60’s folk rock super group Crosby Stills Nash (and Young) because the combinations of writing, musical sensibilities, and most notably vocals in combination make for a sum greater than the individual parts. This isn’t true of every track but the standouts such as “Baby Boomer” which is an extraordinary song that gets political in the old school folk tradition certainly shows off how fruitful the collaboration between the members can be.
There are quite a few memorable tracks on the album such as: “Dear God (Sincerely M.O.F.)” which begins the album on a spiritual note with a colorful blend of 1970’s downbeat disco and folk, “Temazcal” which is a beautiful poem set to music, and “The Right Place” which questions personal ethics with a sound reminiscent of Gram Parsons. For fans of any of these musicians the album is a must have and even in this era of side project madness this one feels a little more special than the rest.