With this, the third in a trilogy of EP releases entitled 'The Great Indoors' parts I, II and III respectively, Moneytree prove themselves as a challenging yet fascinating alternative rock collection. Combining a whole spectrum of influences and also enlisting the help of other musician friends, the four-piece reiterate their unique and eclectic sound.
'The Science Of Gambling' begins with lilting palm-muted guitar against a wealthy collective of tuned and unturned percussion then joined by noodling crunchy electric guitar. With frequent technical music geekery such as changes between compound and simple time signatures and the sonic construction of a web of interlocking and overlapping rhythms, Moneytree not only nod firmly to the influence of math-rock, but also confirm their astute musical understanding which is reaffirmed throughout the entire contents of 'The Great Indoors Part III'. Perhaps in the vein of the likes of Maps & Atlases, instrumental arrangements largely take precedence over typical song form; the vocals aren't continuous through 'The Science Of Gambling', for example, there are merely two vocal choruses effectively bookending Moneytree's intricate instrumental interchanges.
The percussion heavy 'Medicine Land' again exemplifies changing and interlocking time signatures, showcasing mosh-worthy interceptions towards its close before settling into a bongo and cowbell led Latin groove to conclude; Campbell Austin's vocals sing high over a crazy menagerie of an instrumental bed. Later, the seven beat rhythm guitar and bass riff of 'Seven Steps' is again clever and technically astute despite not being songlike and instead rather difficult listening. Although, Moneytree have kept contemporary, mainstream references to a minimum with their own unique blend, there are blatant parallels with the math-rock indie synthesis of Foals in the pushing, interlocking guitar parts of 'The Gamble Of Science'.
The highlights of this EP lie towards its end with 'World Of Autumn', an eclectic collaboration with Thomas Tantrum, The Moulettes and Histories of Rosenberg, and 'Grave And Aloof' with Band of Skulls, which brings the EP to a frantic and fascinating close. 'World Of Autumn', a more gentle and songlike track, begins with an acoustic guitar intro then joined by more guitars forming an interlocking guitar-trio riff that continues throughout. Harmonies, percussion and instrumentation again take a dominant role culminating in the tracks' well-orchestrated climax with stabbing strings and synth brass. Much attention has also been paid to the orchestration of 'Grave And Aloof' whose high-picked guitar, bass and cello dialogue forms a base for harsh mob-like chorused vocals over the top. In the same vein as Foals, harsh toned, shouting vocals are contrasted with singing, eventually giving way to female vocals in its' driving chorus. Towards its close, 'Grave And Aloof' plunges into a frantic, mad math instrumental, like a fantastic orchestral treatment of something expected from a pretentious technical math-metal fury, but so much more sensitive and fascinating.
'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.