From the opening moments of Pacific, one feels the album is really anything but, well, pacific. A distant maelstrom of guitars crescendos into wailing rhythmic feedback, then a four-count, and the band suddenly roars to life. After a brief introduction, the intensity subsides as Ehrhardt belts out the opening lines to 'For Your Sake,' a sardonic pop/rock song in which love is akin to armed combat and lovers are fools who would say anything to win each others hearts. This is not your typical pop/rock outfit. Pacific finds The Monet Bandits dropping their previous forays into the darker corners of rock in favor of pop experimentation. Gone are the Jamaican-style jams, overt political anthems, and hard rocking songs about sidewalk chalk artists pining for immortality. The Monet Bandits are in top form on this disc, as they segue from indie rock to slick acoustic pop ballads, and the bizarre thing is, it works. There's 'December,' the anthem for anyone who's ever taken advantage of a girl on the rebound; 'Turn Me On,' a Eurhythmics meets Unforgettable Fire era U2 power pop song about an arrogant Hollywood social climber who wants to know whether his friend's girlfriend will come 'along for the ride;' and 'Strangely Beautiful,' a winding experimental track that tackles the heart-wrenching tale of a chump who falls in love with the ONLY girl in the world who doesn't want him. Look out - heartbreak on the horizon! For those looking to the darker side of life, Pacific offers 'Disco Death,' an infectious, bass-heavy track about rape and cultural tension played out on a dance floor somewhere in the Middle East; 'Celluloid Eternity,' the now infamous post-modern piano-rock epic; and 'She Was An Alarm Bell (Waking Me Up Without Her),' one part George Michael, one part The Strokes, built around a backwards guitar loop that evolves into a synth-pop sing-along about the impossibility of dealing with the impending death of a loved one. If you've been to a few of the band's shows and wonder how some of your live favorites measure up on CD, there's 'Find My Way,' originally conceived as an up-tempo hymn of faith in the face of disorientation and uncertainty. The song is reminiscent of All That You Can't Leave Behind era U2 but with more bite. 'Animoticon:' it's not in the dictionary, but that's okay because it's not in the lyrics to the song either, though it is a solid indie rocker with a chill bridge that began life as a Maroon 5 jazz-funk fusion piece. The acoustic live hit 'Slow Guy,' makes an appearance on the album as well, albeit with a bit of plastic surgery. NUMB created 'What It's All About,' by taking 'Slow Guy' and grafting it to one of the bands' favorite unfinished songs, producing an emotionally driven stadium anti-anthem about a hopeless relationship on the rocks, complete with two understated guitar solos. If you've been waiting for one of those cell-phone-waiving, majesty-of-rock moments, this is it. Most bands would eschew album art if they could get away with it in favor of a front cover and tray insert, but not The Monet Bandits! These overachievers obviously care about their fans - or at least hope their fans care about what they look like. Although their visages are notably absent from the outside of the album art, ironically, there is no shortage of band photos on the inside of the booklet - 12 pages of glossy photos of perhaps the most photogenic band not put together by Lou Perlman, to be exact. Oh, and they also took care to print the lyrics in the event that fans couldn't discern them from Ehrhardt's polished and articulate singing style. Buy the album. Listen to it a few times. While the melodies and arrangements on Pacific will draw you in after only the first listen, there is much more going on under the surface. This album doesn't play it safe, and, as a result, the production and arranging on the disc are impeccable yet wonderfully vibrant: moving well beyond the garden variety produce-o-matic philosophy that seems to be fashionable these days. Add to this a tight rhythm section, and some truly innovative guitar work, and you've got a fabulous debut release that is sure to appeal to just about anyone. 'The Monet Bandits' newest disc provides a cornucopian mélange of sounds and textures from a variety of styles, ranging from hip-hop to indie rock. Influenced by U2, Interpol and the 'storied garage bands of yesteryear,' the Monet Bandits' style is an eclectic mix of '80s, '90s and contemporary rock.' -The Current/Newsweek Magazines 'There is only one reason you make an album like Pacific - ingeniously incongruous yet somehow jarringly contiguous, at first superficial yet remarkably intelligent in it's design and execution: For Love!' -NUMB.