If you’ve been able to snag tickets to see Brand New on their short run out on the West coast next month, you’ll notice the name Sainthood Reps attached to the lineup. Yes, Derrick Sherman mans the guitar in both bands, but in what time he’s been able to have away from Jesse Lacey and company, Sherman has joined forces with a new trio under the Sainthood Reps banner to delve further into the sounds of ‘90s post-hardcore. And in short, the result is both familiar and riveting, giving us something sonically moving and lyrically relative. Monoculture is a debut full-length slathered in buzzing guitar melodies and moving arrangements, undoubtedly proving the might of the side-project and the chemistry of this rather new quartet.
Monoculture weaves itself among the fabric of music that relies more on mid-tempo jams a la Balance and Composure, making the album an experience in itself with its huge guitar lines and near-haunting vocal production. Opening with a memorable, yet noisy melody, the title track gets us accustomed to what Sainthood Reps seem best at doing – jamming hard. “Monoculture” shows Sherman and co-founding counterpart Francesco Montesanto slinging crunchy melodies throughout the grimy, yet catchy track, giving us everything they have in terms of songwriting right off the bat. “Animal Glue” follows this path well, bringing more rhythmic-based jamming with sandwiched-in sections of simple, yet sullen melodies for a well-paced teeter-totter of sections.
Everything isn’t all about the hits of the punching guitars though. “Hunter” starts with an almost folksy feel, adding in bright guitar lines and sparse, yet thoughtful drumming to build the crescendo of strumming into an emotionally sudden ending. “DINGUS” pulls thoughts of Brand New’s more recent output in its grungy, yet sharp melodies and well-concocted choruses, while “Widow” balances beauty and tension in its buzzing chorus to create a moving finale to this record. Sainthood Reps are more than capable of creating captivation in their arrangements, something evident as they explore different sonic approaches to their endeavors on this record.
On the downside, Sainthood Reps seem so good at what they do that it almost seems formulaic in cases. In terms of structure, there is not much difference between how they build each song. Yet, there is a good difference in what they write and how they approach each track to keep even the less spectacular tracks (“Holiday Makers”, “reactor, reactor, reactor, REACTOR!”) interesting enough that they don’t make the album too predictable.
Monoculture is familiar in many ways, yet Sainthood Reps make their approach to grungy post-hardcore both interesting and worthwhile. Weaving in a few pretty melodies amongst the hums of distortion when they see fit, this band gets the style in a way few bands are able to do so, especially this early in the band’s short lifespan. Call it chemistry, talent or both, Sainthood Reps definitely have something great here.
4. Animal Glue
8. Holiday Makers
9. Reactor, Reactor, Reactor, Reactor!
Derrick Sherman is active touring guitarist in the indie rock band BRAND NEW.
Francesco Montesanto is active in his role as drummer for long island upstarts, WEED HOUNDS.
Sainthood Reps was formed in february '09 while Brand New was home recording.
Their sound has been described as "delicately atmospheric and progressive yet rather heady indie rock"... read more