Monday, October 19, 2009

Review: Monsters of Folk - Monsters of Folk (* * * *)

If the word “supergroup” makes you uncomfortable, you’re not alone—that term has all too often created false hope for bands that should by definition be excellent but almost never fulfill those high expectations. But as jaded as you may be, it’s impossible not to be intrigued by the idea of folk superstars Jim James, Conor Oberst and M. Ward, together with Bright Eyes member and producer Mike Mogis, teaming up to release a collaborative album. And really, Monsters of Folk, or MOF (as it is frequently abbreviated), would probably only qualify themselves as a supergroup with the same kind of faux bravado carried with their appropriate but silly title, an example of the relaxed, high-spirited atmosphere that pervades the band’s music. That’s not to say their self-titled debut, with roots going back as far as 2005, ever feels lazy or tossed off. Quite the opposite, in fact; the 15 tracks onMonsters of Folk combine to make a better album than some of its creators have made recently as solo artists (Oberst and Ward especially). (Continue Reading...)