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EP artwork Monster Jaw - Basement SessionsThe Basement Sessions EP reveals a band embracing the ethos of analog for the sake of the songs. The UK-based band Monster Jaw explores their dark indie sound in this new release, which is a brief collection of catchy, chunky rock songs. Monster Jaw continues down their path of subtle hooks and pop riffs among the cacophony of their almost-heavy-metal-but-not-quite songwriting, but the rough edges previously removed are allowed to shine. The EP was tracked entirely to a 25 year old Tascam tape recorder, which minimal vocal production for quality purposes. Both of Monster Jaw’s 2014 releases – June’s Get A Tattoo EP and October’s Losing All My Friends EP – shimmer with studio production. This isn’t to say they don’t rock: the low-end punk chug of single “Losing All My Friends” can strip the paint from your walls, even as singer/guitarist Mik Davis keeps the heavenly melodies coming.
 
Basement Sessions trades studio polish for gut-punching realism. Recorded straight to tape, with no overdubs, the EP features three tracks (and a gloaming intro) of the delicate melodies, major key charm, and intelligent songwriting you would expect of indie rock, all channeled through dark, distorted sounds. Within the first few moments of the gristly first full track, “Love,” the Monster Jaw sound is immediately recognizable, but the new approach makes it feel much more anxious and insistent than before. The clever frustrations of 2014 give way to the terrifying uncertainty of 2015. Just barely breaking through the surface tension of John Bradford’s drumming and Neil Short’s mesmerizing bass lines, Davis alternates between firm answers and broken questions in his lyrics. “I never want to change,” he sings on the aptly titled “Never Change,” invoking true love atop a pulsating backbeat and a 90s guitar drone. The certainty of “Never Change” is met with the mad call of “Feel It,” as Davis’ voice hovers just short of collapsing under his repeated, frenzied questioning, “can you feel if coming down?” The minimal production lets the songs be more emotional, and allows the band to be more emotive.
 
If the guitars were any quieter, you could almost mistake Monster Jaw for a 1960s pop throwback band. If the tones were any more guttural, the word “indie” wouldn’t be able to make it through the door. Monster Jaws treads the line carefully, seamlessly transitioning from drone-pop choruses to squealing guitar solos, all the while maintaining genuine energy and excitement. Despite the pounding snare drum, the EP maintains a mid-tempo groove throughout, which serves to balance the pop hooks with the metal riffs. The vivid reality of their EP gives a very strong impression of a live band playing through the sweat and the grime. If you enjoy Basement Sessions, it essentially means you’ll not only love their earlier works, you’ll likely be front row and singing along as well. If their EP is any inclination of their live show, Monster Jaw delivers.
 

 
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Monster-Jaw-Promo-Shoot

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