First released in 1998, I Monster's debut album These Are Our Children is uniquely enigmatic and sonically gripping, painting an eerie picture through it's specifically crafted choices of nostalgic elements; A run-down Jazz bar fogged by a grimy film of smoke, inhabited by ghosts, ghouls, and all reaches of once horrific, but now inoffensively off-putting horrors. Putting aside their tragic longings to be feared once more, the seedy collective of haunts translates their naturally dark, yet morbidly upbeat souls into a jam session full of unnaturally offbeat tunes.
Though mostly consisting of slow-paced instrumentals dotted with strange samples, bloopy synths, and blaring horn sections, the occasional vocals have a perfected antiquated feel, almost as if copied directly from a long-forgotten record of old. Not unlike later Monster released, there is a 'retro' vibe throughout, what with the use of simplistic musical structures and now-outdated or ignored instruments (such as passé synthesizer settings or nostalgic vocoders).
The creative freedom is palpable; with one songs sounding not unlike any common Trip-Hop beat, while another is akin to a friendly Haunted Mansion tune, while yet another dips into the inky blacks of dub. However, the general murky inflection of the album never waivers - the dizzy, intoxicated Halloween vibe reaching a striking compendium of sounds in the climax 'Daydream in Blue', a menacing and booming remix of Wallace Collection's 'Daydream'.
Though perhaps unintentionally Lo-Fi, and thus a bit dreary, when Children hits it's love for the decrepit on the head it bleeds with dark creativity, being both classy and gothic in it's blend of inflections. However, the slower dredges of the album can be less than enthralling, and a bit too uniform in their builds. There's an all-too-often ignored difference between a comprehensive sound, and simple repetition of the same style; the latter of which heavily applies to this album.
I Monster's first foray into the world of music is a subdued, yet innovative and unique one; though it has it's variety of faults, which heavily impede the album from successfully playing through it's entirety without boring the listener, one cannot deny the excellent sense of spirit built through the various intentional stylistic choices is an undeniable and strong feature for a group's first effort to boast.