Monster is the latest volume in Steppenwolf's continuing campaign for social justice, soil conservation, and sexual freedom. John Kay even appears on the album cover without his shades, man. His eyes are brown.
Steppenwolf, who gave us those really fine first albums, and one of the best car songs ever with "Born To Be Wild," has gotten into the same trip that ruined the Doors. That tight, clean sound is gone, despite the fact their playing remains top-notch. Their arrangements have become sloppy and crude, as the early-Zappa lyrics continuously clash with the music. They have gotten stale.
Individually, all the musicians perform well. There are some nice guitar bits here and there, and Goldy McJohn's keyboard work is solid throughout. And it seems that Steppenwolf had some strong help from studio musicians, too. The only trouble is that whenever the group seems to get close to putting it all together, the words get in the way.
Steppenwolf has always been an exciting band, and they are still capable of producing good rockin' music. But they are going to have to put down the radical shovel if they are going to make any more important contributions to rock. (RS 51)
(Posted: Feb 7, 1970)
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