Monsters Who Sleep is the solo project for Joshua Richard. He recently released Beyond The Inevitable Murmur. The album combines acoustic guitar with soundscapes. I thought Richard’s more natural sounding voice veered towards what I hear on pop punk. That being said he changes his affectation from song to song and often in a song. Take for example “Yellow” which begins with grating vocals and then is quickly manipulated using different effects.
The mood is all over the place on the album but is often dark. The emotive qualities often felt on the line and could go in any direction very quickly. I honestly didn’t know the emotional intent on some of the songs which could be a good thing. Take for instance “Counting Wolves” which is an example of the heaviest affectations on the album. It starts with him lamenting in pain and then whispering. The delivery is so dramatic it becomes comical and once I heard the spoken word which sounds awfully close to the cookie monster I had to laugh. This is not a knock on the artist. I often have the same reaction to David Lynch (whom I adore) films that dance on the same line.
There are other songs which are straightforward. The very next song “Ravens” is basically just guitar and vocals. He strums a couple of major and minor chords, sings and also puts in some atmosphere in the form of synths.
Richards often utilizes synth strings such as on “Death Eater,” “Ivory Tower” and many others. This aesthetics creates more of a bedroom artist type of quality to the record. It reminded me of Your Blues from Destroyer.
As the album progressed the sequential order felt a bit scattered. He attempts a lot of different approaches. Perhaps the most notable was the pop punk infused “Deadworld” into “My Heart Is Somewhere Else” which sounds more like a composition you might hear from Max Richter. I say that as a compliment as Max Richter is one of my favorite composers.
I give the artist massive kudos for attempting this out of the box approach. Some of it worked and other times I had a harder time going along for the ride. Overall, there are some really interesting ideas and I encourage you to take a listen. I have a feeling there will be varied reactions. Recommended.
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