Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., March 14, 2014
It took Ume nearly a decade and several false starts before the Austin trio finally found form with 2011 sophomore LP Phantoms. Whereas the album refocused their power-heavy riffs and shoegaze distortion, Monuments crushes rock on the outset with the vicious bassline of "Black Stone" breaking into an outright barrage. Producer Adam Kasper (Queens of the Stone Age, Nirvana) captures the uncompromising energy of their live set and ferocity of guitarist and vocalist Lauren Larson, driving in the howling "Embrace" and pummeling relentlessly on "Chase It Down." Yet the album also finds versatility and balance in tracks like "Too Big World," Larson's layered vocals ripped between an aggressive roar and seductive lull. The backside dramatically draws down with the dark, gentle linger of "Barophobia" set against Rachel Fuhrer's sharp percussive stabs on "Revival," while "Gleam" shimmers hazily and "Within My Bones" drops into a calming strum and breathy melody.