Hailing from Fredericton, New Brunswick, The Monteith Brothers are a rock band of the groovy stoner variety. They’ve released an EP titled The First Four, presumably establishing that this is their first record, and unfortunately, it’s not the greatest start.
I’ll start with the positive. First, it’s quite evident to me that these guys are doing this for fun, and I can’t help but respect a band that don’t take themselves too seriously, and who choose to try and make some fun music. That’s the immediate vibe I get from The Monteith Brothers. I mean, the first song is called “Yesterday’s Jam,” and seems to be a song about how these guys like to just jam. Can’t say I disagree with that. Also, the music has a sort of raw aggression to it, without sacrificing musicianship too much. They play their instruments well. The track I enjoyed the most was “Rising Eagle Sunset.” I was immediately struck by the Motörhead feel that this song has. Definitely a song worth cranking up your speakers for. Bonus points for an awesome guitar solo in this song as well.
Unfortunately, for me a lot of the positive ends there. My biggest issue starts with the vocals. Shaun Monteith actually has a pretty decent voice, with a mix of Lemmy and Anselmo in there. It’s definitely something I can dig. However, there are secondary vocals providing melodies in all the songs, presumably sung by his brother Daniel Monteith, that simply don’t fit, and don’t sound all that great. They sound off key, and more like two guys attempting to drunkenly sing some karaoke. It’s a shame, because alone their voices are pretty good. I can’t tell if it’s a production issue, or if they’re simply having trouble finding their “groove” when they sing together. The second thing that struck me as odd was how loud the drums were in the mix. There’s some great, tight drumming going on, but it’s so loud that it completely overpowers the rest of the instruments in the mix at certain times.
I’m not a fan of The First Four, but that doesn’t mean I’m not curious to hear what the next four might sound like. I’m hoping, with some better production and fine tuning, that these guys will create a better sounding, more focused record. The potential is certainly there, it just hasn’t been achieved…. yet.
Written by Dominic Abate
*edited by Kate Erickson