Review Summary: Be sure to wear flowers in your hair because Monster Magnet’s latest offering is exactly what its title suggests; Last Patrol almost in the midst of the summer of love.
Ease your mind and let’s travel together through time and space back to the beginning of 1968. The psychedelic rock movement was already at full fledge boasting monuments such as The Doors
, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
, Are You Experienced
, Forever Changes
and Disraeli Gears
among others. Masterpieces like Electric Ladyland
, Odessey and Oracle
and The White Album
were in the making while a harder type of sound was about to appear. Behemoths like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple were either downtuning or setting their Marshalls not to 10 but up to 11(!). The Vietnam War was taking place and 2001: A Space Odyssey
premiered in the cinemas in front of confused audiences while Martin Luther King was getting shot to death. And of course drugs and pretty colours were all around the place before young Dave Wyndorf’s eyes (12 years old at the time).
You might wonder and for good reason why I’m rambling about all the above; firstly, because history is always important and secondly because this is where Dave Wyndorf attempts to transport us with Milking the Stars: A Re-Imagining of Last Patrol
. Released just 13 months after its predecessor, Monster Magnet’s latest effort is promoted as an attempt to show to their audience how Last Patrol
would sound if it was recorded in the midst of the psych rock movement. As a result, out of the album’s 12 tracks, 6 are supposedly taken from Last Patrol
and reinvented so as to sound even more retro, 2 are live renditions from Last Patrol
again while the remaining 4 are new songs. Nevertheless, “Goliath” is similar in name and nature to “Goliath and the Vampires” so what we’re left is just 3 new tracks, right" Wrong, because this is just one way of looking at this album; the other way is to view it as a unique entity which is much more enjoyable.
Moving on to the tracks, the 6 “re-imaged” ones, indeed sound even more retro than their Last Patrol
versions but despite Wyndorf’s genius they don’t sound exactly as if they were on a 1968 album. At times, they sound like MC5 on steroids while on others they’re like a huge black hole coming towards the listener. They’re fuzzier, include more organ and sound effects with Dave Wyndorf’s voice. The live renditions of “Last Patrol” and “Three King Fishers” prove that the band is on great form while “Goliath” felt like a link before the album’s last tracks rather than a track of its own. Regarding the “new” tracks, “Let the Circus Burn” is “Last patrol” reinvented, “No Paradise for Me” is “Paradise” with slightly alternative arrangement and I’m almost certain that “Milking the Stars” has its roots somewhere in Monster Magnet’s discography.
To sum up, if listeners expect new work from Dave Wyndorf and Co, they’ll probably end up disillusioned. Milking the Stars: A Re-Imagining of Last Patrol
is exactly what its title suggests; Last Patrol
in a time capsule. The best way to enjoy this album is to forget what came before it and appreciate it for what it is. With previous releases, Monster Magnet had their one foot on stoner and the other on psychedelic whereas now they manage to deliver a very successful heavy psych album circa 2014.