Ism – Monkey Underneath
I had started writing my review of “Monkey Underneath”, but after writing about half of it I realized that the music that was playing from my speakers was in reality not Ism but Him or Avenged Sevenfold, coming out of one of my friends’ Myspace. Oh well, Ism sounds quite different from either band, so I can’t salvage much besides “and” and “the”.
The style of “Beside the Sun” blends together Oasis, Stabbing Westward and a hint of Nirvana to come up with a grungy, somewhat industrial sound that still has a soft side (a la Placebo) to smooth things over with their fans. “Wake Up, Write It Down” continues the same general style, but provides a little more for listeners on the light side of things. A hint of Middle Eastern influence seems to be present here, but “Wake Up, Write It Down” feels like a track that is building up to something bigger. “Goodbye” starts to use some of the momentum that has been built up during the first few tracks on the disc, but the band backslides into the same type of building style that marked the last few tracks on “Monkey Underneath”. The inclusion of a Weezer-like arrangement towards the end of the track is a nice switch, but it does not catapult Ism to the next level.
The result of many of the tracks on “Monkey Underneath” is that the band plays a fun style but the tracks all feel as if there could be something more added to increase the amount of enjoyment. “Can’t Explain” knocks at the door yet again, with Ism building up to a climax that is not necessarily resolved at any point on the track. It builds up, but then disappears instead of exploding in listeners’ faces. The title track has a much more slow tempo than anything else that had previously made its way to listeners’ ears. The vocals are the dominant factory in this track, and this might be a direction that Ism should go in the future. The sound of the track is much more solid than anything else on this album. The disc may be underperforming, but Ism knows what they are doing when it comes to creating interesting tracks. When the band can create a standout track or two, chances are good that Ism will be a band that is known by a wider segment of the population.
Top Tracks: The Fill, Goodbye
Ism – Monkey Underneath / 2005 STM / 10 Tracks / http://www.ismmusic.com / http://www.stmrecords.com / Reviewed 26 August 2006