I love Monster Magnet, even though they haven’t released an actual really good record in about 15 years. The last Monster Magnet album I looked forward to was called Mastermind. They said it was a return to form, but obviously it wasn’t. Not Spine of God-type form, at least. Before that, both Monolithic Baby and 4 Way Diablo were also supposed to be returns to form. That this band still haven’t regained their ‘form’ after 2001’s God Says No suggests that perhaps by now, they never will.
Likewise, The Last Patrol. Once again, I bought the PR line. This time Wyndorf & Co. were fully retrenching to the crunchy acid-inflected space rock of their first four or five records; and this time, they were taking with them what they’d learned from 15 years of producing more ‘accessible’ arena rock during their global mid-tier stardom phase of the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Preview streams seemed promising. They sounded quite like Monster Magnet, which I’m sure you’ll agree, is an excellent place to start. Accompanying articles breathlessly exposited the mental and musical processes behind the record’s genesis; this was going to take us all back to the halcyon days of the early 1990s, when stone rock was fresh, and nobody had ripped off Hawkwind yet, said the bloggers and hacks. Many glossed over the recent departure of Ed Mundell from the band. Nevertheless, from these meagre materials, I managed to kindle in my heart a tiny flame of optimism, and waited patiently until the day I could translocate a copy of the recording into my own sticky, lint-covered palms.
Of course, it’s not bad. It just is. Most of it sounds like a half-tone photocopy of Dopes To Infinity, which isn’t… you know, bad. It’s just I can’t tell what’s supposed to be so good, nor do I have the energy to flip out and embark on a histrionic rant about it. Somehow, that would just seem gauche.
All that’s left to do with The Last Patrol is try and figure out what’s missing. Ah yes. That would be it—Ed Mundell.
So in conclusion, this record is perfectly acceptable. And that isn’t good enough. If you want to recapture the swagger and verve of Monster Magnet’s early material, my advice is to just go and listen to it, because The Last Patrol adds nothing particularly fresh to the template.