If there’s such a thing as a stereotypical Brooklyn band, Old Monk are not that band. The trio are kind of a funny bunch: guitarist Josh Carrafa, drummer Ian Burns, and bassist Tsugumi Takashi come off a bit as oddballs (and have an obvious penchant for slo-mo videos, per the band’s Facebook page), and the music they make together most certainly reflects that.
Old Monk traces its history all the way back to 2009, but today, two full-length albums in, the band prove they’ve stayed true to their strengths with their new single, “Shifting the Earth.” The track really speaks to what these guys do best, offering a pinch of a pop hook and immediately undermining it with an antsy, off-kilter energy. In somewhat of a deceptive move, “Shifting the Earth” begins and is built upon a sprightly, cheery guitar riff, but the band have their fun wreaking havoc around it. The song ends up being a manic, anxious track, with Carrafa frantically spitting out words like, “I can’t help but feeling like my life is sinking like a stone.” The band’s rapid-fire energy is broken up by moments of de-evolution and an anarchic atmosphere which exposes, briefly, a legitimately dark underbelly to the song’s tone.
Ultimately, the song is trying hard to pass for merely fidgety, but its insecurity and despair show, inevitably, through the seams. As with much of Old Monk’s material—and the band themselves—it’s intriguing and takes you a little more by surprise with each listen.
Old Monk is heading out on tour, so be sure to catch them at one of these upcoming shows (all listed dates with Dressy Bessy):
02/10 – Boston, MA @ Atwood’s Tavern
02/11 – New York, NY @ Bowery Electric
02/13 – Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle
02/15 – Washington, DC @ Gypsy Sally’s
02/16 – Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter