ALBUM REVIEW: MONSTER RALLY – ‘ADVENTURES ON THE FLOATING ISLAND’

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Monster Rally’s journey through the exotica-lounge foray continues with Adventures on the Floating Island, a familiar and yet fresh sound of antique samples, smooth bass, crackling vinyl, tight guitar, and calm beats. Relative to the previous LPs, Adventures on the Floating Island has a fuller jazz component which is lent well to a fresh structure that lets the tracks flourish both a la carte as well as on a full-length album listen. This is opposed to Monster Rally’s past LPs which softly encourage an evening with the record player, a great way to listen but not always convenient.

Opening track “Menagerie” sets a strong tone, familiar straight away with looping sounds and a rich beat. Yet, as it flows the listener can notice a clear verse and chorus section which is rather atypical for Monster Rally, as evidenced by the next three tracks which lack the similar structure.

“Adventure” is among the catchiest songs on the LP, moving at a quicker pace than we often see from Monster Rally, and also guitar-heavy which is also rather unusual. Altogether, it meshes to create a fun yet tense tune that could be the perfect soundtrack to a chase-scene with a twist of levity. “Reef High” creates a terrific mid-album reprieve that softly inspires reflection on the first part of the album, and much like the next tune “Pow Wow”, both inspire a dream-like feel that conveys ‘A Floating Island’.

“Sweet Flower” returns to the classic Monster Rally sound of a DJ-invaded luau with fruit punch spiked by psychedelics. “Sister Owls” embraces the jazz as it is sure to get folks off their seats with a catchy piano riff…ages old, with fresh drum and bass rejuvenating a sampled tune that may have been relegated to the dusty ballroom otherwise.

“Tangerine Lounge” makes a case for the jazziest tune on the LP, comprised of a litany of instruments including a host of mallet instruments as well as an accordion that hums smoothly next to the shuffling drums and tambourines. “Chica Lodge” finds this same ideal balance between jazz and lounge, relaxed but deliberate beats and calm orchestral strings softly backed by a buttery-smooth jazz guitar that finds Monster Rally venturing further from the tropical exotic beats of years past.

Finally, “Twiggy’s Flight” is slightly reminiscent of past tune “Mystic” from Monster Rally’s Mystery Cove LP with twinkling sounds like water and stars, but the evolution of Monster Rally’s sound is evident resulting in a more accessible song in “Twiggy’s Flight”. Even further, it is a microcosm of Adventures on the Floating Island, where a broad array of sounds and genres expand beyond lounge and exotica genres in an instrumental narrative.

The slightly longer songs help execution of the narrative, and the inclusion of more traditional song structure allows Adventures on the Floating Island to have a wider appeal while maintaining the classic and core elements of Monster Rally. Those elements comprising mostly of classic analog sampling looping, exotic sounds, euphoric and mystic feelings, all instrumental to let the imagination run wild.

Adventures on the Floating Island has less of a dreamy-euphoric inducing motif than past LPs such as Flowering Jungle or Mystery Cove. Those albums induced heavy imagery of tropical islands and its journeys and activities, whereas Adventures on the Floating Island IS the explorative journey itself, complete with danger and mystery. Although stated that the songs mostly function well a la carte, a full listen of the vinyl record is atop the personal list (as soon as it ships, special Deep Lilac vinyl presses are still available here).\

Arguably Monster Rally’s best LP to date, Adventures on the Floating Island is likely to have the broadest appeal and audience given its diverse sounds and strong execution as both a full-length album and a la carte songs which independently tell their own story without needing the album as context, yet thrive as a part of the whole.

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