Braden J McKenna
Gigantic Monster Cave
(2009, Magic Goat Music)
RIYL = Navigator, Microphones, Sung Tongs
Gigantic Monster Cave is the album I’ve been pining for from Braden J. McKenna for some time now. Many Forest Gospel readers are probably familiar with our admiration of Mr. McKenna’s other musical projects, Navigator and WYLD WYZRDZ, but before he stepped into these musical costumes he recorded some of his most endearing and amazing material under his on given name. Gigantic Monster Cave is a return to the ideals that made those early albums so essential. Gone is the self conscious lo-fi grit, the band aesthetic, and the Americana tinge of Navigator along with the ambient washes and repetitive loops of WYLD WYZRDZ. Back are the whimsical, wide-eyed, child like lyrics of - you guessed it - monsters. Back is the loner vibe of a frail, frog voiced boy alone in his room with an acoustic guitar. Back are the multi-tracked vocals, the pitch shifted monster voices, the mini-songs and, to a larger degree, the magic. I’m don’t know if McKenna would agree that this is his most engaging material seeing as how his work as Navigator has certainly been his focus and the diamond of many a strugglingly obscure blogger’s eyes. However, for me, this is where it is at. This is Braden J. McKenna (obv). This is the kind of magic that I remember feeling the first time I listened to Sung Tongs or the first time I listened to The Glow, Pt. 2. Those are hefty albums for comparison – two of my all time favourites – but I believe that Gigantic Monster Cave is filled with at least a similar type of wonder that those albums hold. It is certainly influenced by them to some degree. What makes McKenna’s work so golden is his naïve sense that he can create amazing songs with minimal skill. It’s obvious that there isn’t any virtuosity going on within these tracks, but any true appreciator of music will realize that skill is not what is necessary when creating good music. What's required is creativity and an indefinable talent for the genuine. If you’ve been tracking McKenna you’ll know that he’s got this in spades. Gigantic Monster Cave is one of four albums that he has already released this year (including the new Mario Kart album, but I'm sure we’ll get to that soon enough). I think I have travelled these tangents before. McKenna’s work is inspiring. Gigantic Monster Cave holds within its tiny frame some of the most whimsically affecting lyrics and humbly blissful acoustic guitar that I’ve heard all year. It is perfect for just about any setting: A drive through a forest, a late night with headphones, a pleasant afternoon conversation with friends, traversing through a labyrinth…you know, everything. And, in familiar form for the incredibly humble and generous Magic Goat Music label run by McKenna, Gigantic Monster Cave is free. Absolutely positively glorious.
Download Gigantic Monster Cave for free!