Written by Fumo Verde
Blending the sounds of bluegrass and rock, a little bit of reggae along with the electric and acoustic jamming, New Monsoon has given its fans some sweet songs on this new album. All that hard work NM did touring for the last couple of years paid off in the studio. V is solid and the musicianship these men have comes out in full force on this disc.
At first I couldn’t get off track #1, “Greenhouse.” For someone who likes greenhouses and some of the botanical wonders that grow in them, I found this song buzzing around in my head for a while. “We can get green. We can get grown./ We can reap the harvest we have sown.” I am so down with that harvest, and though it may not be the harvest I’m thinking of, this tune has a laid back groove that sets the tone for the rest of the CD.
Track #2 has a hint of the Allman Brothers’ “Jessica.” With piano keys pulling you in for the ride, the guitar sends the listener on a journey through the interior of the country. The jam races around up to a point where a heaviness seems to drop in, as if on this little tour you have come upon a huge mountain and stopped to gaze in awe, then once again the music is off and running. “Neon Block” has a reggae backbeat with some gentle guitar work that gives off an island vibe. The words speak of corruption and injustice happening on a block in some neighborhood, which could be anywhere in the U.S.A. “Romp” is another charging instrumental that is led by a banjo and gives one the feeling of racing around your own Hazard County, just like them Duke Boys.
My favorite track is #8, “Alaska,” a song about a single man who raises his only daughter and watches as she becomes a famous singer who eventually helps her dad out of his tough spots. This has a traditional bluegrass feel to it with its sad, sweet song and heroic ending. With bass and drums driving the tune, the piano and words paint a vivid picture of the story. Again, the flawless guitar work brought together with the drums, bass, and piano give NM a rambling jam sound all of their own. Follow “Alaska” with “Rattlesnake Ride” another rich instrumental that catches a Pink Floyd-flare as electric keys and guitars stretch the outer limits, then just near the end of the song voices telling us they have “come to take you away” bring us back to reality. The track seems to be winding down with a heavy-ending crescendo, until the guitars charge in to re-energize the jam that brings us to an abrupt end.
The music on V is great with each track telling a different story in its own way. NM has a great sound that differs from other jam bands that are out there now. I’ve seen them once live and it would be great to see them again. All the spirit this band has on stage comes alive on this CD. There isn’t one song I don’t like on this disc and that my friend is a rarity. I’m bringing this CD out on my next road trip: Bonnaroo.