El Monstruo

El Monstruo

The 99 Degree

El Monstruo

Sour Grapes Records

Out Now

Louder Than War Bomb Rating 4

The 99 Degree release a new EP full of moody Manchester surf sounds, El Monstruo. Louder Than War’s Roxy Gillespie checks out this latest addition to the band’s recorded output.

Described in the press release as: ‘Recorded over four days and nights while living as a love and terror cult in an Airbnb in Rotherham,’ El Monstruo is already an intriguing proposition.

El Monstruo begins as the tribal drums of John The Killer start to build tension. The tempo rises with the addition of some pretty nifty guitar work. When the shimmering surf sound overlays the mean rhythms, the sinister feel reaches its apex. This is a great slice of noir.

Flatline begins with metallic/industrial echoing guitars. This is another spare but stunning track. The vocals and the whole feel of the track brings The Cramps to mind. Quite an accolade.

El Monstruo continues with the dark dirge-like Young Flame. The tale of dysfunctional love holds far more menace than joy. The ragged, dishevelled guitars only add to the feel of post-desperation acceptance. The almost monotone vocals accentuate the gloom.

Dead or Alive is The 99 Degree’s signature song. This re-working has the same bleak air as before, but is tidier round the edges. Classic surf/ spaghetti western fare lyrically, the song remains a fine part of the band’s output and this is a fine version of their live staple.

The reprise of earlier track Young Flame is stripped down and totally down-at-heel in a good way. The drums emphasise the vocals nicely.

This latest offering by The 99 Degree is more finely produced than some of their earlier output. El Monstruo has moved away from their messy, wonderfully chaotic stage show. This is both good and bad. Some tracks benefit, whilst others seem a little tame. The overall quality, however, is good. This is a highly individual band producing tracks that ooze a down-beat charm. It boils down to whether you like recorded material to knock the rough edges off a band’s live show or want to feel as if you are at the gig. This gives a bit of both and is well worth a listen.

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Find out more about The 99 Degree here.

All words by Roxy Gillespie. More writing on Louder Than War can be found at her author’s archive. She Tweets as @RoxyG100.

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