I’m not going to talk about the genesis of the band’s name, Dunbar’s theory or previous David Goo projects (although I could go on about any one of these for pages)……….. this is an album review after all so let’s get into it. Monogamy is an album that is completely sure of itself and the message it is trying to convey. It pulls no punches and yet doesn’t come across as preachy or arrogant.
Opening with ‘’Lonesome’’ a track that is uncomfortably void of too much music and uses silence in a way rarely heard on an opening track. The lyrics repeat themselves without being over used and reminds you of times when you have been on your own and said out loud ‘’I am SO lonely’’. Snapshots of the sounds of the city are used to punctuate the lonesome man in a crowd feeling. Over all this is such a different way to open an album it grabs and makes you sit up and pay attention.
At this point I was forced to pick up the CD and take a second look and to my surprise I saw that the album had been split into two sides. A stroke of genius and shows an attention to how the album is not only put together but also gives you a blue print of how the album ‘should’ be listened to, reminding us of the near forgotten experience of sitting and listening to an album from start to finish.
The almost haunting harmonies on ‘’Variation On Atheists’’ are strangely up lifting, while song has shades of acoustic D&B and effortlessly dissolves into rock riffs and slips back to a single acoustic guitar and vocal. For a song which essentially has 3 lines of lyrics it carries a powerful message; happiness doesn’t need to be an epic and dramatic experience but finding someone to spend your life with can be a simple, satisfying and ultimately far more dramatic experience in itself.
Mariya Brachkova, the female vocalist fills the record with a sense of understanding from both sides of the males / female divide. The addition of her vocals gives a secondary point of view, for instance ‘’Human AKA Man’s Lot’’ which has lines ‘Now I I understand, you’re a person, a person, nothing to look up to’ this doesn’t feel like a self-deprecating line from a man who is just learning to not put the other sex on a pedestal – instead it feels like a statement shared by both man and woman alike.
This isnt an album about one man’s realisations of love, life and the fairer sex, this is an equal sided study of relationship. It is humble and fair on both sides, you hear Mariya takes the lead vocal line on ‘’Variations on Variations on Atheists’’ and the questions and Answer between David and Mariya on ‘’Weird Kinda Luv’’ makes for a collaboration of the sexes.
The rhythm section are in no way random and faceless members of the band and they do a fantastic job of providing the back bone to each tune, the hard hitting drums Oliver Dacombe plays on ‘’Ego Bus’’ are a great example as they get your head nodding without control. The bass is played By Charlie Coulson-Smith throughout the album with a simple elegance and funky brilliance and reinforces the guitar lines perfectly even when they are lacking in complexity.
This really is an album without low points, the latter half of the album (Monogamy) feels more up beat and almost more sure of its self and settled in its own skin (much like a man in a relationship), however it isn’t gushy and soppy. ‘’Domestic Dispute in Song Format’’ reminds us all that relationships are not all wine and roses and people argue and say the worst things that they can to each other in the heat of the moment.
Finishing with ‘’The 150 Friends Club Theme Tune’’ is an inspired idea. As soon as this album finished I hit play and listened to it again and was amazed at the difference in tone between the first and last tunes, especially since i didn’t notice this shift while listening to it through. This is a well-crafted record from a artist who knows exactly what he wants to say with a band who is intent on making sure it sounds as great as it possibly can.
You can buy Monogamy from the links below and personally I suggest that you so this sooner rather than later as if you don’t have this album – you ARE missing out.