"The finest bands create not only great songs but also mood, and no one gets that like Austin’s Monahans. The four-piece group named itself after the tranquil West Texas oasis, but the band’s tone is dark and unnerving, like a storm rolling in— all pounding drums and big guitar riffs, alternately thunderous and eerily ambient. Monahans morphed from Milton Mapes, an Austin band led by Greg Vanderpool and Roberto Sánchez, and yet despite the name change, it is essentially the same outfit, a bit less alt country and a bit more bombastic. Vanderpool has an uncanny knack for juxtaposing beautiful melodies over sonic fireballs, and his bandmates have clearly listened to their Crazy Horse and U2 albums. At first listen, Dim the Aurora (Misra) sounds unfinished; most songs are short and stop abruptly, and of the album’s hour, 29 minutes are taken up by instrumentals. But this lends a fascination and mystery to the band’s second album that you wouldn’t find on a more conventional recording. When the best songs end before you want them to, you’re left hungry for more."
"Sophisticated, dreamy, driven, balanced. Rightly, this act has earned its buzz."
- Austin-American Statesman
- Texas Monthly, June 2009
"“It’s Enough To Leave You” is the opening track on Dim The Aurora, and it packs about a quarter-century of alt-rock reference points into its four-minute running time. From the awkwardly soaring chorus and the chunky, quirky, handclaps-and-piano rhythm line to the dynamic buildup that goes nowhere but is expansive and elegant getting there, “It’s Enough To Leave You” manages to subtly point fingers at everyone from Michael Stipe to Spoon to the Hold Steady, all while managing to sound quite unique...Monahans have made an album that’s richly rooted in American rock traditionalism but also lurching noisily forward into something far more intriguing."
- Magnet Magazine
"Amidst bands with engineered, electric sounds, Monahans’ second album and debut for Misra, Dim the Aurora, takes a back-to-basics sound as simple and secluded as the West Texas sand dunes that the band is named after. Monahans has wholly encompassed the traditional American rock, while simultaneously making it relevant and fresh for a modern music scene."
"It's Enough to Leave You...", which opens Dim the Aurora, their second album as Monahans and first for Misra, puts Roberto Sánchez's drums right at the forefront, with a desperately steady beat that pushes the songs forward at a midtempo that wants to-- but never does-- break free into a full gallop. Sánchez is more than simply a timekeeper here, but an instrumentalist on equal footing with the guitars: That tambourine puts the jangle in "It's Enough to Leave You...", his toms ratchet the tension on the clockwork instrumental "Night #3" and bleed into the mandolin strums on "Over Fields". On "Fit for Fire", his drums and Britton Beisenherz's Bad Seeds-style bassline provide the latticework on which Greg Vanderpool and Jim Fredley hang their darting guitar licks. It's not so much that Monahans' new sound allows for greater rhythmic presence, but that Sánchez's elevated position in the group allows them to create that new sound, to pivot in new directions. Bouncing on that drumbeat, "It's Enough to Leave You..." immediately showcases their ability to write dusty, concise hooks and to resolve melodies in interesting, unexpected ways. Monahans turn "Slow Burn" and "The Low Light" into surprisingly tender slow-dance numbers that echo any of Will Johnson's projects (unsurprisingly, he sings harmonies on the latter), and the messier, more abrasive "Fit for Fire" sets Vanderpool and Fredley's tight harmonies against a maelstrom of horns and feedback. On Dim the Aurora, atmosphere takes as much priority as songwriting, as the band makes the music do as much as the lyrics."
- Pitchfork (6.7)
"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."
- Riverfront Times, St. Louis
"Monahans make music whose muse is evaporating time - irresponsibly fleeting time, runaway time - and a merciless fear of impermanence. Its albums are anchored by the sparseness of wild horse country and by the confusion that comes when it starts becoming clearer that few things are actually bouts of randomness all just pasted together, but one continuous movement - all ocean, all waving grass feeling that wind again, pushing and prodding it. It's a band that knows when to sigh and to breathe deeply, pulling in the richness of the exhalations of the trees and the wheat fields. It knows when to charge and to snort and then to pull back again."
"No strangers to roads less traveled, Monahans' sophomore outing could be the soundtrack for a trip to the center of the Permian Basin. It's an expansive work of heated, highway contemplation and weathered longing that, in the anthemic streak of "It's Enough to Leave You ..." and "I Run to You," recalls a Southern gothic translation of U2's The Unforgettable Fire. Most impressive is the way the local quartet manages to balance the tidal pull of its oceanic debut, 2007's Low Pining, with the more immediate and ruminative burn of singer Greg Vanderpool's previous outfit, Milton Mapes, diffusing the crooked carnival bent of "Slow Burn" and the title track's Springsteen dustup with aptly titled instrumental sections. That idea pays off in the end when "Terrene (Instrumental)," 21 minutes of dry creek bed scenery and languorous calm-before-the-storm ambience, is eclipsed by the ruminative ballad "Distorted Signals," which sounds like a long-distance call home from a West Texas phone booth."
- Austin Chronicle
"Formerly Milton Mapes, Austin/San Francisco band Monahans started to slowly shake some of the dust lingering from its alt-country output on 2007’s Low Pining, which balanced its usual ragged Americana with slightly more cinematic atmospherics not unlike the similarly West Texas-obsessed Explosions In The Sky and experiments in straightforward anthemic pop. The band’s new Misra debut, Dim The Aurora, finds it still working out the kinks in its evolution, with a fresh emphasis on steady, less languid drumbeats and gritty hooks in the style of frequent tourmate Centro-Matic, but with an equal amount of perpetual-twilight, instrumental vagabonding snaking down those same old back roads leading to nowhere."
- (The Onion) Decider
"There's more than a hint of Wilco coursing through the sonic DNA of Austin's Monahans, from the warmingly inviting, Tweedy-esque vocals to a keen ability to juggle pop inclinations with more experimental ones - proof of the latter, especially, discerned in three probing instrumentals (one of them a 21-minute journey across kosmiche terrain) that punctuate the tracklist of this, their second full-length. Too, the fact that until 2007 the group had spent the decade operating as alt-country twangers Milton Mapes makes their transformation into something more urgently anthemic, at times overtly psychedelic, rather Wilco-esque. Beyond all that, though, the aforementioned space-rock epic ("Terrene"), along with such numbers as the pulsing, brooding "I Run To You," the polygot worldbeat/freejazz of "Fit For Fire" and the buoyant title track, additionally puts the group in rubbing-shoulders distance of My Morning Jacket and Arcade Fire. Not bad company to be keeping, and a remarkable musical evolution to boot."
- Blurt Magazine, Fall 2009
"Mixing everything you (should) like about Springsteen, Stone Roses, and Jesus & Mary Chain, Monahans are able to remind us that qualitative adjectives like ‘ambient’ and ‘tranquil’ are not antithetical to rock & roll. To learn that their 2007 release, Low Pining, was almost an entirely instrumental endeavor is not surprising, as most songs have a very bottom-up structural feel to them, and while I’m glad that lyrics were ultimately included, the process clearly served them well."
"...weave and loop a droning pulse around each song that hint at what Sigur Ros might sound like if Iceland was a lonely truck stop floating out in West Texas."
- What We Need Is Music
"The Austin-San Francisco band Monahans grew out of Austin’s Milton Mapes and walks along a similar sonic landscape. Patient, cinematic song structure is given a deeply human, emotional quality by the vocals of Greg Vanderpool. Low Pining, the band’s debut, describes the longing found within, highlighted on tracks like the guitar-heavy “Traveling Song” and the sparse, lonesome “When You’re Down” (featuring Cowboy Junkies’ Margo Timmins). Although the majority of the tempos are brought way down, “Undiscovered” thumps like classic R.E.M. (if Stipe was from Dallas), or even a more mature Band of Horses. While the inclusion of lyrics was a wise decision—the band was considering making this all instrumentals—it’s the brooding, dissonant guitars and ominous rhythms bringing visions of storm clouds and waves across the ocean that make this an under the radar gem. If given the chance, it will win you over."
- Harp Magazine
"The debut by these Austin slowcore cowboys has all the dread and beauty of storm clouds gathering over Texas' hill country. Featuring laconic vocals, sun-blistered guitar freakouts and the occasional church organ drone, Low Pining sounds like Friends of Dean Martinez resting under the lush sonic boughs of The Joshua Tree."
- Magnet Magazine, 2007 Hidden Treasures
"Low Pining is quietly one of the better records of the year."
"...the beauty of Low Pining lies not in its solutions or answers, but instead in its embracing of the ruin as an opportunity to reflect, and begin again. Just as U2 attempts to escape history and cultural definition in “Where The Streets Have No Name,” so too do Monahans dramatically demolish everything with a poetic pull to leave at least a hope of rebuilding something different, something more beautiful."
"Like Tom Waits, Mark Eitzel, Jeff Tweedy, Alejandro Escovedo and many others before him, lead singer/songwriter Greg Vanderpool uncovers the exquisite epiphanies in dark despair. On the aptly named LOW PINING, Monahans finds gentle bearing in desolate lives and landscapes on a hypnotic 2007 'debut'."