Review Summary: When 1300+ reaches its stride, it’s something to be appreciated, and thankfully it reaches it on more then one occasion.
Post-rock is one of the more ambiguous genres out there. Sure, it has its defining characteristics (climaxes anyone"), but even they aren’t always a consistent sign. In fact, in recent times it’s begun to be used as a label for a broad range of experimental music, and that’s where Monogrim and Slow Dreams come in. You won’t find any major climaxes here, or many moments of sweeping grandeur. Instead, 1300+
is mostly a more subdued style of experimental post-rock.
“III” is the shining example of this. As the guitar chords begin to be played more regularly, joined by gentle ambience in the background, it truly is a beautiful thing to behold. And just when you think it should explode into a massive crescendo, it dies. Far from being a bad thing, that kind of restraint endears Monogrim to the listener. That’s just one example of a track succeeding precisely where it should. “Who’s Pickin’ the Banjo” is a surprisingly well crafted piece of folk-music. Its not far off belonging on a Tallest Man on Earth album and its samples are placed perfectly so as not to hinder but to only help.
In terms of the differences between Monogrim and Slow Dreams (since this is a split EP), the former is much more concerned with the post-rock side of things. Slow dreams displays some talent in the area, but branches out far more often. “Curious Communist Cats” for instance, is anything but post-rock. It’s actually closer to straight up rock music, with its peppy drums and quirky guitar playing. Unfortunately there are examples of duds present as well. “Isn’t Anything” is a completely ambient piece that goes nowhere and doesn’t do anything interesting while its there. At one point it even grates, producing a sound that Unfathoms would be proud of.
There’s some wonderful talent on display here though, despite the duds, from the nice combination of piano and powerful tenor vocals in “II”, to the aforementioned rock tendencies that Slow Dreams revels in. Here we have two young but promising artists showing off their chops, and I for one am happy to be experiencing that.