Review: USAISAMONSTER – R.I.P.

Friday, December 9, 2011

This might have the appearance of an overdue review, seeing as this was released on Northern Spy Records back in October of last year, but as it came my way a couple months back as the result of their marking their first year, I figured it should be given an appraisal as their first release, in terms of catalogue numbers, as an example of their inception.

Regular readers will already know the name Colin Langenus from my review of Infinite Ease/Good God by the Colin L. Orchestra, released earlier this year also on Northern Spy Records. While I had my reservations about Good God, Infinite Ease really won me over. The same is true of R.I.P., the last release of his many (at least ten) years’ project with Tom Hohmann, started when squatting Charlottesville, VA.

Langenus’s leaning towards surfer and stoner rock is as apparent as is Hohmann’s interest in Native American culture (this latter most notably within the phenomenally catchy album opener Grey Owl, which, in charting the tale of an Englishman’s conversion from trapper to natural spiritualist, wears these influences right on its sleeve). So, too, is the fact that they have a history together. Their being more than capable of weaving through various styles, complex time signatures and an almost-atonally (especially come the closing track, Dynamite Day) with such cohesion as this  is testament to this fact, even without necessarily knowing the journey they have taken together.

For those who have followed the band along this journey, this album sees them leaving on top of their game and is not so much a swan-song as a taking off (and neither seems to show signs of slowing down – Langenus continues to work various projects, including the Colin L. Orchestra, while Hohmann went on to form new band (from) the Sky [not to be confused with London’s From the Sky, though I cannot find (from) the Sky’s web presence]). However, for me it has left voracious a hunger for more, so I feel almost at an advantage to have been hitherto ignorant of their work, as I have a whole back-catalogue to explore.

Before I wrap this up, I feel I should mention, as an aside, that the album art is Hohmann’s original work. As a further aside, during the long periods of touring with USAISAMONSTER he took to knitting and may or may not still do custom knits on etsy.

You can stream (edit: samples only) and purchase the album direct from Northern Spy Records.