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Monster Movie/Dreamend

Monster Movie/Dreamend
Split EP
(Graveface Records)

Last year that the lesser-known part of Slowdive resurfaced in full under the name of Monster Movie with the release of the excellent Last Night Something Happened. Although I hadn't heard much of the group before that, the lush production and keen songwriting had me immediately, and I still contend that it's one of the best pop records released last year and one of the best dreampop albums released in quite some time.

Following quickly on the heels of that release, the group contributes two tracks to this split-EP with the lesser-known Dreamend. The latter group has a somewhat similar aesthetic in that they play gauzy guitar music, but they fall on the instrumental side of things and aren't afraid to crank things once in awhile. Compared to the aforementioned full-length album, the tracks contributed by Monster Movie simply don't sound quite as honed. "Beautiful Arctic Star" opens things up with thick layers of shimmering keyboards and more breathy vocals, while "Nobody Sees" follows it up with a fairly stripped-down feel. One of the beauties of the group is their amazing sound, and when they're stripped down to filtered vocals, piano, and a bit of harmonica, they just don't carry the weight as well.

Dreamend takes a bit of Mogwai and a touch of Tristeza and stirs it into something slightly in-between the two. The opening untitled track (2 of the three contributed have no titles) intertwines two guitar melodies, soon building into a luscious crescendo before ending with a whimper. "Ellipsis" wastes no time, rocking out from the start while again throwing in some nice guitar play and plenty of hazy guitars. The final track again works the quiet/loud angle pretty hard, but the track carves out it's own ground pretty nicely, even though the territory has been mined by so many other different groups. In all, the EP is 5 tracks and just under 20 minutes of material, and while the two groups have a few aesthetics in common, their two styles vary quiet a bit. The MM tracks are good, but will mostly appeal to people who have already heard the group, while the Dreamend side pricks your interest enough to hear where things will develop from here.

Rating: 6.25