The Loneliest Monk at Subterranean

In the spirit of full disclosure we feel it’s only right that we inform you that we have broken bread and opened bottles with the duo that is The Loneliest Monk on more than one occasion. They’re both as awesome unmasked and without instruments as they are on stage, but we’d never let friendship taint the objective nature of a show review. If it sucked, we would tell you.

It didn’t. After more than a year not seeing the Monk on stage they returned triumphantly, sans mask, to perform at Subterranean. SubT isn’t exactly the ideal destination for some bands for a few different reasons, but the power couple managed to make their return to the limelight seem as if they’d never left–like that one friend you haven’t seen in forever but feels like never left.

Don’t get us wrong, it’s not music for everyone. If you’re one of those people that can only understand music produced by the comfortable combination of lead singer, double guitar, bass and drum, The Loneliest Monk probably won’t be your thing. We can’t do anything about that… except to tell you that’s it your loss. In the absence of sing-along choruses and predictable power chords you get a dynamic duo that somehow manages to deliver cello, vocals, guitars and drums–in different combinations–dynamically.

Powered by the clickety clack of sticks, the thump of the bass drum, vibrant cello transitions and idyllic vocals, The Loneliest Monk vacillates between dark, avant-garde cadences crescendoing towards the unknown and a euphoria that’s best described as afterglow. Individual songs change tempo, emotional undertone and intensity at a moment’s notice, sometimes multiple times in the same track. If I’m being completely honest, it makes it difficult to remember The Loneliest Monk track titles, but it also makes everything blend together in a way that’s similar to that satisfying feeling you get when you’ve successfully blended all the fruit on the bottom into your yogurt. You could just digest the product in individual layers, but it’s nowhere near as delicious.

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