Bands to Watch #300: Monterey

By on Tuesday, 13th May 2014 at 12:00 pm

Monterey have so much going for them: they’ve got a resoundingly fresh Americana sound, which typifies the kind of classic/punk rock sound they’re aiming for. The four-piece comprised of Michael O’Reilly on guitar and lead vocals, Carter Henry on guitar, Chris Beninato on bass and Matt Debenedetti (just how New Jersey is he? [They’re from New Brunswick, mostly famous for Rutgers University – Ed.]) on drums, are under the radar enough at the moment that their new EP ‘The King’s Head’ will, despite its stadium rock sound, be seen as hip and underground. The music is full of soul with toe-tappingly catchy guitars and a rockabilly brashness that’ll have you captivated. Oh, and they have the same nice name as a cheese that goes deliciously with fajitas and other Mexican food. Which is nice for everyone.

On ‘Brainfreeze’, the opening track of their EP (which you can get for free from the Soundcloud widget below), the guitars of Carter Henry and Michael O’Reilly have a hint of U2’s The Edge, whilst the rest of the record has me reaching for the inevitable Gaslight Anthem, We Are The Ocean and Deaf Havana comparisons. The tub-thumping, hand on your heart type lyrics with the building guitars has all the hallmarks of the three aforementioned bands.

O’Reilly’s voice needs working on in parts. The rawness of the EP is one of its big plus points: there are times when the rawness goes past the medium rare stage, towards the uncooked and unseasoned vocals of ‘Mr. Rockaway’, the EP’s intense closing track. Despite this shortcoming, in parts the EP is incredibly good, nostalgia-inducing fun, It’s reminiscent of a musical era where The Boss and co. were king.

They need some refining around the edges, but for now, Monterey’s rough slice of spicy American rockabilly stylings will do for now.

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