18 October 2013
by Rob McAuslan
Monster Magnet have had a bit of a hard time these last few years. Whilst their last album, Mastermind, was more than decent, it still felt like a brief flash of hope through a murk cast by a string of below-average releases and some terrible live shows. It raised a pertinent question – was Mastermind the light at the end of the tunnel, or Monster Magnet surfacing for the third time?
Put the life-buoys back and call off the coastguard – Dave Wyndorf has done precisely what a large section of his followers have been screaming for him to do since at least as far back as 2001’s God Says No. Well, almost. The sun-bleached widescreen ‘fuck off’ of the Powertrip-era still bestraddles everything Wyndorf writes and probably always will, but Last Patrol makes an excellent fist of tempering that neon excess with a healthy dose of the LSD-burned howl that saw Monster Magnet first make their name. Lead single ‘Mindless Ones’ encapsulates Last Patrol pretty much perfectly, in fact – Wyndorf’s strongest vocal performance in too many years anchors a glittering stomp, a call to track-marked scrawny arms soaked in analogue delay and skittering swirls of mellotron and theremin.
The whole record feels right, with some reservations. It errs largely on the right side of the pre-Vegas sound with the odd slip into a more commercial tone that older fans will be a little suspicious of. The kind of writer that Wyndorf is would never allow him to ignore his experiences, and it’s those that drive Monster Magnet in whatever direction they blearily stumble for better or worse; Last Patrol is vastly better, tying together the two sides of the band into an older, wiser beast. The Bullgod has learned a little humility, and it suits him well – the final track advises us to ‘Stay Tuned’, and I reckon we should…
Sounds Like: A cautious return to form
Standout Tracks: Last Patrol, End Of Time, Stay Tuned