Pale Monsters – Are You Feeling Alive?
Are You Feeling Alive? is the first full length release from Boston based four piece band Pale Monsters and stands as their first major release since their debut EP Take What You Can Take first hit in 2016. Some of the band’s previous work reappears here, re-mastered and/or re-mixed for the new release, but there’s plenty of brand new material here that reinforces Pale Monsters’ position as one of the more promising rock acts emerging from the indie scene today. The ebullient, life-affirming qualities of some of these songs and their complementary melodies are poising the band to experience much more than success on the indie scene, but it’s guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter Chris Mulvey’s capacity to invest everything he does with compelling melodic value that will hold your attention and keep you coming back for more. There’s ten songs on their first full length and newcomers can rest assured not a single one of them qualifies as filler.
One of the album’s key single release, “All This Time We Wait” reaffirms why you should love this band for those already familiar with their sound and approach while offering an excellent introduction for those who are not. There’s a generally brighter hue to the album’s first song than we hear with the second number “Pale Monsters” Mulvey, however, has a real penchant for crafting a memorable, punchy chorus despite the song’s overall mood and “Pale Monsters” is a much more rough and tumble affair than “All This Time We Wait”. The third track and one time title tune to their debut EP, “Everybody (Take What You Can Take)”, has a new coat of sonic paint for this release that makes pop snappier than ever out of your speakers. The splashes of synthesizer scattered throughout the tune bring some well deserved added color to the songwriting and performance. “Until the End” has a slightly dissonant, off-kilter tone and a fatalistic attitude coming through its lyrics well matched to the arrangement. Mulvey’s typically emotive vocal style has an extra painful edge in this tune that reeks of desperation.
Drummer Travis Richter brings us into the instrumental “Bombs Away” with an unusual opening and the tune, on the whole, leans towards the atmospheric end of Pale Monsters’ spectrum with great success. Pale Monsters deserves respect for slipping an instrumental into the track listing and there’s no way you’ll expect that particularly turn – likewise, it isn’t filler or some sort of placeholder. “Buzzed Out” harnesses considerable punk attitude without ever sounding like the band’s surrendered any pretense of technique, but they do manage to ride the same loose and confident attitude characterizing the album on the whole. Another highlight is the song “I Don’t Really Wanna Care No More” and the unusual sentiment is given equally unusual expression as a mark of how individualistic the band already is two collections into their run. There’s some good guitar that comes in late during the song, but the bulk of it is much more focused on a quasi-electronic arrangement that never becomes too overwrought or self-indulgent. It gives the album a surprisingly muted, even heartbroken, finale and puts a bold exclamation point on the release. Pale Monsters’ Are You Feeling Alive? is some of the best indie rock released in recent memory.