The new double sided single “Stay” continues the AudioMonkeys tradition of pulse pounding groove, infectious vocals, heavy riff rock, and an unmistakable hook that has been consistent since their beginning. Their sound is tremendously appealing with Jason Draves rip-roaring sonic attack guitar, a dynamic and very talented rhythm backing on drums by Kyle Jones, and of course the voice of Jared Woods, who has one of the strongest and most powerful and soulful voices in the underground rock community today. 2014’s “Hope She’ll Be Happier” showcased how their heavy influences and soul legacies brought a passionate feel to their crushing rock sound.
Now here they are with their latest release, and at first listen, it is easy to notice the blasting and tight guitar riffs from unsung rock god Draves, but one thing that is also recognizable is the continued soul infused kind of sound that is heavily responsible from Wood’s steamed up gospel choir vocals, the grooving bass hooks, and some very controlled and dynamic set work from Jones.
The project opens with “Stay In Your Lane”, that rides on some very crunchy and banging guitar work from Draves, as it dives headfirst into a mid- tempo foot-stomping rocker behemoth. The verse is commanded by a strong groove and Woods’s spectacular vocals. The chorus contains a feverish hook, and the production on this track is absolutely perfect, as whipping snares lead into and out of, each section, coupled with ringing bass and a torrent of guitar.
Next up is “Struggle” which is built around an infectious muted guitar hook by Draves that sets the tone for the entire length of the track. It’s a stand-out soul-driven rock song, that grooves hard and features some relentless stringed work, and great beats from Jones.
There is also a fantastic solo on this song where Draves strings some fiery notes together to heartfelt effect. This is a fantastic song. Plain and simple. It showcases all three of the musicians in complete control of their instruments and all of them are tightly knitted together to form a very cohesive and dominant music force on this track.
Compared to previous work, “Stay” gives off more of a unified sound that stands on its own. Jason Draves stills busts out in the middle of practically every song to deliver stunning sounds from his guitar, and Jared Woods still hits resonating vocal notes that not many have the bragging rights of, but individual style aside there is a progression to a more identifiable AudioMonkeys sound. Great lyrics, powerful vocals, terrific bass lines, jaw dropping guitar, and a simply infectious groove carries us through each song. All members are firing on all cylinders here.
All throughout this recording, the driving rhythms and imaginative guitars are endlessly good. Draves’ rattlesnake six-string bounces around your speakers, as brooding bass lines foretell the avalanches to come.
Jones’ rock-steady pocket grooves reinforce the songs’ heavier themes, while Woods does unholy things with his voice that make you wonder how this guy is still the most underrated vocalist in rock music. Plug into Chicago’s AudioMonkeys when you run out of coffee and they will definitely do the trick.