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Non-Prog CD Reviews

The fundaMentals

MonuMental: The Best of The fundaMentals

Review by Gary Hill

This set is definitely not for everyone. It has a real DIY indie-sound to it. This is no frills rock and roll. It's not quite punk rock, but I think they live in the same family tree. This is pretty solid, though. The only real complaint is that some of the music has a tendency to be too much like the rest. That could have been easily fixed by moving a few songs (the three that come before the closer are all "different" and would be better moved around) or dropping a couple off the set. Still, many people listen to individual songs these days instead of full albums, so perhaps it only matters so much.
 
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
It's About to Get Loud

There is definitely a punk meets old school hard rock sound here. This is raw and indie in terms of production. Yet it has some real charm to it. It makes me think of the band DOA quite a bit, really. As far as I'm concerned, that's a good thing.

This Ain't the Summer of Love
I thought this might have been a cover of the Blue Oyster Cult song by the same title. It's not. This is more of the same kind of sound we got on the first track. I actually think I'd rather have heard what they would have done with that old BOC chestnut. Still, this has its charms. It's a lot more barebones, though.
Streets of Time
Now, this is so much cooler. It has a prominent piano part. This is more of a classic rock styled power ballad. Yet, there is still a raw, almost punk edge. The two things work so well together making this a definite highlight of the set. I really dig the guitar solo on this, too.
Locked and Loaded

Earning a serious parental advisory on the lyrics, this is another hard edged rocker that's punk oriented. There's some definite blues rock in the mix, too, though.

She's Dangerous
This one has an almost metal edge. In some ways it makes me think of Motorhead, perhaps mixed with DOA. It's not a major change, but this stands out quite a bit.
I Do It All for Rock and Roll
Here we get more straightahead hard rock. There's still a bit of a DIY, rough around the edges, punky angle. This is more mainstream rock than some of the rest here, though.
Crystal Web
Straight ahead raw rock and roll. This one seems to work a bit better than some of the others, making it stand up as a highlight.
Sorry Bout the Noise
More punk oriented, this one is solid, but a bit too much like a lot of the rest. The angry kind of edge makes it work, but the formula is starting to wear a little thin by this point.
I'm Not Afraid
The piano is a nice bit of variety. So is the guitar that seems to ride in soloing ways throughout a lot of the song. Those things combine to make this one break the mold enough to stand out from the bulk of the set.
Hell Yeah
A bit more stripped back, but also a little more metallic, this is solid. It makes me think of Motorhead just a bit, but again with a twist of DOA.
It's Good To Be Me
Here's another that flirts with classic rock. The keyboards add a bit of a mainstream edge, but this is still DIY enough to not feel like any kind of pop music. It's a tasty cut.
Just Do It
Raw rock and roll with some hints of metal, this is where the disc gets a bit "samey" again. It's a good tune. It's just too much like a lot of the rest.
Charade
Just in time to bring some variety, piano starts things here. The cut works out to a stomping rocker that feels a bit like The Kinks to me. It seems like the kind of thing that would have been a big deal in the 60s.
Guess Who's Not Invited
Combine The Rolling Stones with Chuck Berry and DOA and you'll be in the right territory for this. It's a cool rocker. 
Mentals Theme
Much more of an old school rock and roller, this is not only fun, it's one of the best here.
Generation Nowhere
This is more like a lot of the rest, punk meets raw hard rock. It's a good tune, but nothing exceptional. That said, there has been enough space between this and some of the others that are similar that it can stand on its own.

 

 
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