The PhiLL(er)

Le Grand Essor de la Maison du Monstre Cover

Le Grand Essor de la Maison du Monstre
Greyday Productions

Reading over the biography of San Diego group Minmae, I found it interesting that Sean Brooks, primary songwriter for the band, formed Minmae following the end of his group Thee Psychic Hearts. Why is this interesting? Mainly because of the similarity to the title of Sonic Youth guitarist/singer Thurston Moore’s first solo album, Psychic Hearts. While Le Grand Essor de la Maison du Monstre, which translates as "The Great Flight of the Monster Haus" – don’t listen to my stupid dialogue regarding the title on the podcast, doesn't really resemble Moore’s solo album, opening track "Cold Room, So. Pacific" reminded me a bit of Sonic Youth with its droning guitars layered alongside somewhat noisy guitar meanderings packaged in nearly ten minutes of musical bliss.

If Minmae proved to lead Le Grand Essor de la Maison du Monstre in just this single sonic direction, I actually think I may have been satisfied. Fortunately for those that don't share the same affinity for long tracks of guitar experimentation, Minmae is far from content to stick with one sound. Immediately following the opener the group dives into a cleaner and slightly more subdued sound on "Cold Steel Minders" and "Once Cocked Gun" before heading into "Everyone Knows Jesus Wore a Chain", a track that with its dose of synth carries a somewhat eerie air. It was during Brooks's singing of "Sickeningly/ Sickeningly/ Sickeningly/ Sickeningly sweet..." that I began to feel as though the soft vocals bore a resemblance to (Smog)'s Bill Callahan.

Comparisons/resemblances aside, there is one thing that can be said of Le Grand Essor de la Maison du Monstre, and that is that it should be able to hold the attention of even those with the shortest of attention spans. I know that may seem like somewhat of an odd statement when related to an album that features four tracks over five minutes in length, but Minmae cover such a variety of stylistic ground and even within each segment explore each area so fully that every moment is one of new discovery.