Monahans is one of Austin's best-kept secrets. Its 2007 debut album, Low Pining, was a moody, atmospheric take on rootsy Americana, an album whose lonely soundscapes painted rust-colored pictures of desolate southwestern highways at dusk. Although this year's Dim the Aurora finds Monahans retaining Pining's sprawling ethereal beauty, the LP also features moments of urgent, driving pop — a sound that draws as much from I.R.S.-era R.E.M. as it does from the brooding emotion of Nick Cave. The combination of these two creative dispositions, along with smart song sequencing, makes for a more complete album experience, while also expanding the scope of the band's excellent live show.
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