Cry Monster Cry have been making waves recently in the capitals music scene. Dublin brothers Richie and Jamie Martin have been making and experimenting with music since childhood. In their own words, Rhythm of Dawn is “…a work of transition. The record charts the journey from night to morning in a cyclical theme sewn throughout the music, sounds and subject matter”.
This is quite an apt description they have succeeded triumphantly in their endeavour of making this album a ‘dusk to dawn’ voyage. From the nightingale to the lark (both of which feature either lyrically or musically), birds are a running motif in both words and melody to spectacular effect. The inclusion of extra-musical thematic patterns give the record an artistic and poetic bent which distances Cry Monster Cry from ‘just-the-tunes’ bands and marks them as interdisciplinary artists carving a path of their own. Rhythm of Dawn is a concept album, but utterly without pretension.
The first track ‘Darkest Hour, Longest Day’ sets up the record beautifully. Totally addictive and alluring, this song sparks of the thematic bearing of the album. Fresh and crystal clear vocals permeate the pacing acoustic guitar before the song builds to a haunting crepuscular finish. This is one the finest opening tracks to an album in the last few years. The harmonies at the close of the song have the added bonus of being exactly the sort to get stuck in your head for the next week. This song smoothly transitions into ‘Atlas’, whose harmonies are highly reminiscent of Of Monsters and Men. The chorus however, has echoes of Mumford and Sons, with the muffled, otherworldly feel of MGMT – albeit a much more sedate and mature version. ‘Gelert’s Grave’ signifies the cold hour before dawn. This is perhaps the most lyrically brilliant song on the record. The lark is described as “…the ink in the well that made me the poet” – a line worthy of Nick Cave.
Their latest single ‘Postcards’ is a pivotal point in the album (be sure to check out our earlier review of it here). This marks the point in the night when the barest hint of warmth begins to fill the air. This is done by introducing a very subtle brass section, heralding the dawn in the background. Another honourable mention is ‘On Tangled Shores’. It begins with a slowly strumming guitar which brings to mind the opening bars of Radiohead’s ‘Exit Music for a Film’. Indeed this song would be an ideal inclusion to any rain-drenched urban film. It is sparse and plaintive but building to a gentle crescendo, which allows the tender words and pure vocals to shine through.
The last song ‘Homebird’ represents the dawn chorus, in fact, the last two minutes of this eight minute track is dedicated to gradually fading birdsong. Brisk and upbeat, this song is an almost pastoral elegy to the morning. The soaring vocals coupled with a brightly burning violin make this one of the standout tracks on the album.
Cry Monster Cry are lyrically akin to Conor O’Brien or Conor Oberst; insular, thoughtful and poetic, with some liturgical, large-scale elemental concepts such as you would expect from Nick Cave or Leonard Cohen – Cry Monster Cry, however, have better voices than all of them.
They have a fascination with traditional forms of Irish storytelling. This is definitely evident given the lyrical shape of their songs and the overarching theme of this concept album. “If you were the mockingbird, I was the carpenter’s wife… If you were a carpenter, I was a starling in flight”. Fantasy and fable mingles effortlessly with more traditional ballads and love songs.
Their crisp harmonies and meticulous melodic choices make Cry Monster Cry a unique group in Ireland’s music scene. Pre-Order Rhythm of Dawn on iTunes.