Monster Rally’s latest delve into the exotica/chill genre is LP Mystery Cove, but attempting to define this compilation or any of the previous works of Ted Feighan with genre labels quickly becomes a futile effort. Unlike many cohorts in this sub-genre who are modernizing the sound of exotica with synths and digital audio workshops, Monster Rally sets off in a unique direction wherein by his own account, “I’m trying to make something that sounds old”. This execution is driven by the use of analog equipment that helps him create the sublimation of genres…chill out/tropicalia/lounge/luau/
Similar to his past releases, Monster Rally keeps track length short in an effort to promote the cohesiveness of the entirety of the album. Listening to Mystery Cove on vinyl essential boils down to two long tracks, one for each side of the record. Given the influence on Feighan by Animal Collective, the sudden deconstruction of a song that can happen anytime is not surprising and lends power to this concept that has been prevalent in all four solo full-length albums. It is nearly impossible to disambiguate which song is which on vinyl, even with a track-listing in hand…the message being to experience the entirety opposed to single songs.
Mystery Cove weaves the story of lovers on a Pacific island getaway as they explore across the landscape encountering unexpected presences, some positive and some not. There are some incredibly catchy beats which juxtapose ukulele riffs producing incredibly euphoric sounds during songs such as “In The Valleys” and during moments of others. Near the outset of the album in “Full Sail,” a jazzy guitar symbolizes the embarking of a journey away from America. “Misty Sunset” is an exquisite closing track that combines a hip-hop beat with nostalgic orchestral sounds, and my personal favorite from this album.
The energy level on Mystery Cove may not match that of the previous release Return To Paradise, which is just fine. The strong narrative and slightly more downtempo theme match the intentions of the scenario. Mystery Cove reaches a level of genre-diversity that we have yet to see from Monster Rally, and that is an exciting thought to contemplate.