Seen making the touring rounds around California like their Harlot labelmates Satan Wriders, Monster Treasure is part of the current spate of proliferation from Northern California’s independent and clique bonded communities. The trio of Briana Granados, Rachel Orimo, and RJ Mar have recorded a handful of cassettes, a few EPs, a split 7″ with Babysitter from Victoria, B.C., and have re-recorded and re-arranged some of their favorite early song sketches for their first proper full-length album. From these early, raw and rough sketches first popularized on a local level in Stockton, California, their debut full-length release from Harlot beams bright as a polished pop garage diamond with all desired, and implied roughness left intact.
The strength and might of Monster Treasure’s first album is a tour du force that began to grab attention outside of Stockton through “Wake Up”, “Over”, and “Wasting”. Utilizing a clever track line-up trick, even the somewhat familiarized listener and new fan has to wait five tracks in until you reach speedy-sweet-and-succinct, “Over”, while the old school fans will be instantly rewarded with an overhaul deluxe redo of, “Heat”. As evident on those previous recordings, the vocal harmonies between Briana and Rachel maintain near perfect parallels and a resonating unison, and here on the full-length the distorted guitars find a similar mode of melodic cohesion.
For another example, “Alright” gets a complete sonic make-over, where the “feeling alright” wishes are re-jetted to be experienced on every intrinsic level. The electrolyte mineral shine of beautifully blistered guitars can be heard in a whole new way on the album version of “The Salt”, bookended by the quiet-loud friendly dangers of “Spook Me”, and “Lights”. Everywhere else in between, Monster Treasure hit you with a scuzz-hook-fest that you cannot ignore. The closest thing to a breather-break is the “never come around” melancholia of “Bill Evans”, that has some monster chord and dam bursting amp blasts. Monster Treasure runs one hell of a rampage, raging full of a wild wonder that can be heard on a majority of the self-titled debut.
For their first big outing, Monster Treasure pick and choose components from their favorite DIY movements and apply an algorithm of their own. The band’s subscription—either consciously or unconsciously—to these self-created formulas could prove to be either a detriment or an exemplary definition of their sound in future releases. The refinement in the way the the melodic-noise ratios work create a stream of song consciousness, where the album experience can be heard as one song, with various surprises, and playful moments in between. Monster Treasure’s music has always sought a perfect balance between harmonic vocal interplays and reigned melodic forces of catchy, feedback drenched chords. Even if Monster Treasure are creating and abiding by their own self-designed formulaic alchemy, they may have cracked the code of the mysteries that lie between dissonance, melody, and perfect harmonies.