This Melbourne-based four-piece has built a large and enthusiastic following on the live circuit, with their music often being compared to Mogwai, My Bloody Valentine, Sigur Ros and Explosions In The Sky.
The new album showcases the band’s remarkably sensitive songwriting and production abilities, while guest vocalist Daniel Brownrigg again shares his considerable talent on three of the record’s eight tracks.
Most of the songs are slow-burners, creeping almost inaudibly out of a dark corner before layer upon layer of guitar, bass and keyboard melodies pierce the gloom like shafts of sunlight. The first track, Lazy For You, offers up a haunting guitar melody dripping with delay, which feeds back into itself, intertwining and soaring with Brownrigg’s vocals. It’s rich, warm, dense and moving.
The title track — number three in the line-up — is my favourite off the album, again projecting a sense of light and shade: cloud shadows chasing the sun. The song’s refrain has this wonderful restrained power, and somehow manages to make you feel happy and heartbroken at the same time. In fact, A Monster In Soul something of a contradiction, being both spacious and dense, measured and chaotic, placid and raging, simple and complex, engaging and withdrawn at the same time. It’s really, really good in other words.
It’s just so great to see Melbourne producing bands of this calibre — and it is only a matter of time before International Karate commands the respect and admiration enjoyed by their higher-profile peers overseas.
If you see this album in the shop, buy it. You’ll hear something new in it every time you play it, which will be often.
— The Beige Baron