The history of the super-group is chequered at best, so when they come with a name as dodgy as Monsters of Folk, scepticism is pardonable. But Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis, Jim James of My Morning Jacket and M Ward are some of the finest songwriters of their generation. And despite each stuttering slightly on their most recent releases, their collective debut finds them on top form; content to share the spotlight, resulting in a slow-burning, but excellent album. Each possesses a trademark voice; so thankfully they all take a chance to shine. Ward’s smokey croon lounges over Slow Down Jo; Temazcal could have been a Bright Eyes’ classic, whilst James makes the gorgeous closing ballad His Master’s Voice his own with his unmistakable yowl. There’s a sense of emancipation here suggesting they relish the chance to escape the shackles of the day job, producing variety and consistency rarely found on any album, let alone a side-project.
Written for The Skinny