Monsters of Folk
Auditorium Theatre; Fri 30
By calling themselves the Monsters of Folk, Conor Oberst, Jim James, M. Ward and Mike Mogis can emphasize their supergroup’s powers with a wink. The mostly unexceptional self-titled debut album doesn’t really showcase any of the Bright Eyes, My Morning Jacket, etc. vets at their galvanizing best, nor is its gentle ’70s country-rock particularly folk.
Even for a disc intended as a casual campfire gathering of the talents, the product is still a little too unfocused, too forcefully humble to succeed as much more than a lark. As is often the case with supergroups, the assemblage of forces is not so much a summation as a dilution. Still, don’t let all that dissuade you.
Considering that Monsters of Folk came together following a couple of collaborative tours, it’s only fitting that the collective works best live. On stage, these part-time partners loosen up, swap instruments, delve into American roots (as well as their respective catalogs) with academic insight, and live in the moment a little more. You want an accurate record of what the quartet is capable of? Sneak in a tape recorder.
If MOF really want to shake things up, they should egg Centro-matic’s redoubtable Will Johnson (moonlighting as the band’s drummer) to take the mike for a song or two. He might be the one most worthy of the band’s jokey moniker.