"I'm rich and famous/With a million-dollar contract/But it's not around," Monstrous guitarist/singer Led Gethway brags disingenuously over the luscious, distorto-scour psych of "Rich & Famous." Too old to be Hanson's grunge-punk successors but less slickly presented and pointedly generic than, say, Silverchair, Led Gethway and his brothers Ken and Alex have been plugging away as Monstrous since they were teens on Rhode Island, but now they're all in their 20s and based in Portland, Oregon. The trio mixes '90s Fat Wreck Chords-ish punk, 1989 pre-fame Nirvana, Beatles-esque tunefulness, and early Teenage Fanclub puerility into something just north of precocious pop-rock. "Happy, Free" slides easily from acoustic guitar skiffle to amp-compacting crunch and back. "Wanna Gun" features crackling, tug-tug-shove riffs, which serve as a melodic nyah-nyah-nyah to counter the screamed-yet-levelheaded anti-school-shooting lyrics. And with hesher-heavy, blues-metal sludge and a Led Gethway vocal so mealy-mouthed Kurt Cobain might mistake it for his own, "Think Ahead" would've fit nicely on Bleach if it'd been recorded about 18 years earlier.


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