After years on the scene and five Rare Monk EPs (a few of which have been scrubbed from the annals of digital history), "This is our first official full-length album," says bassist Forest Gallien of the impending 10-song effort A Future.
"We recorded this album with longtime collaborator Skyler Norwood at his Miracle Lake Studios in Camas, Wash.," Gallien continues. Laying down tracks over the course of the last year, two to four songs at a time, "This album is the first album to feature our newest member, Hugh Jepson. We went through some significant changes two years ago, losing our original guitarist and violinist and becoming a four-piece," which also features Dorian Aites on vocals, violin and guitar and Rick Buhr on drums. "With the addition of Jepson, we started focusing more on writing bigger guitar parts, dueling leads, and utilizing his falsetto vocals."
The songs are tinged with trouble, Aites says, because they were written during a time "that was troubled in so many ways." The songs "deal with death and agency—our control (both individual and as a species) of how the future will play out. It’s easy to be deterministic—the world’s a shit show right now and it feels like all we can do is make popcorn—so there’s a lot of grappling and grasping for free will. The songs are also a lot of fun—big guitar fun—[and] a commitment to giant choruses as a medium to discuss humanity’s doom and how we might prevent it. If there’s a unifying theme to the album, it’s that we have control over the music we make—that band practice is chaos under our control and feedback cures all diseases."
The electric "Golden" deals with the difficulty of "looming underlying socioeconomic and ecological issues," Gallien explains. "Instead we suppress them—individually, nationally, globally—allowing them to nibble and claw around the edges of society, reflected in the lives of individuals and the evolution of nation-states. Attempting to destroy this 'gnawing,' the people of 2017 return to the ways of old. A trepanner (one who administers trepanation: the boring of a small hole, usually with a hand auger, into a living person’s skull) is needed to relieve the pressure of what we know but can do nothing about."
Heavy shit, but eloquently delivered as a brooding, melodic rock song—really, it's what Rare Monk do best.