1. Magnetic North
3. Lonely Waves
5. Exploding Coast
7. Beating The War Drum
8. Nome, Alaska
9. The Great Race Of Mercy
The term “monomyth” refers to a pattern that underlies mythical narratives from various cultures: the hero ventures out into the world, contests with forces beyond his ken, and emerges victorious-- but also transformed. For many bands, titling a record Monomyth would seem a grandiose statement, but for Fin Fang Foom, who’ve been currying a global fanbase from their home of Chapel Hill for thirteen continuous years, it verges on plain fact.
If you’ve never heard Fin Fang Foom, or just think you know what they’re all about, Monomyth is an ideal moment to catch up. Not only is it their first new record in six years, it represents the pinnacle of their craft-- the interplay between Michael Triplett’s pensive yet powerful guitar, Eddie Sanchez’s rumbling bass guitar, ominous keys, and restrained singing, and Mike Glass’ dynamic drumming has never been more subtle and powerful. The legendary Brian Paulson’s production captures every nuance of quietude and volume, beauty and menace. The title track sums up the current Fin Fang Foom sound, sturdily transitioning from airy piano keys to searing guitars-- they favor the hard-won climax over the forced eruption.
And thematically, Monomyth sums up all the travails the band has weathered to this point-- not literally, but emotionally. It’s a brooding yet hopeful work that finds Fin Fang Foom humbled but unbowed. This stance is informed by the tragic death of first drummer Peter Enriquez, and by Triplett’s near-death experience with spinal meningitis in 2004. When so many bands break up at the slightest difficulty, Fin Fang Foom’s perseverance through exceptional adversity is remarkable. The point of the record isn’t that the band members are mythical champions-- it’s that everyday people, striving and surviving, are the real heroes. Lyricist Sanchez says that the record is about all of the trauma Fin Fang Foom has endured, but especially Triplett’s ordeal. “That, to me, is a hero’s journey,” says Sanchez. “From life to death and back.” Legions of bands play slow-burning post-rock that embraces the human struggle, but few can do so from such an authoritative, authentic position.