To my mind, the work of I Monster on A Dense Swarm of Ancient Stars is music that can legitimately be described as "unlike anything else being made right now." The first track clearly sets the mood - that mood being perplexed fear. However, the blend of sing along, escapist ditties like `A sucker for your sound' and `She's giving me the I' and fantastical mixes of realism and surrealism present on `Cool Coconuts ` and `Dear John' makes for a pleasurable, personal listen. Philly Smith's dreamy voice provides the perfect accompaniment to the lyrics and the music, and I Monster themselves have evolved their electronic sound, becoming more organic, but retaining the variety of keyboards and synthesisers which have always contributed to their unique sound.
This album also provides what's certain to be this year's aspirational character in music. Mr Mallard is among many inspired characters from the album, and has his own brief interlude. Despite his clear mental problems, this life of a well-dressed duck sipping tea and reading the paper strikes me as a relaxing and rewarding one.
So, this is an inventive album to say the least. A part of me misses the heavy synth and dancy feel from parts of Neveroddoreven, but artists should always evolve, and left its own devices I think this pond-like album teeming with life, could evolve all by itself.