Leeds' three-piece MonMon's debut EP is an interestingly varied effort, taking in scuzzy indie, melodic rock and more experimental areas. They usually place an emphasis on the bass, and EP opener 'Monkey Fist' is no exception.
A tight, bass-heavy groove runs throughout the song. On these rock-solid foundations, MonMon waver between heaviness, and a scuzzed-up, more psychedelic sound.
Despite the underlying hoarseness of Andrew Mills' voice, his dreamily undulating vocal contributions have a softening effect on those bass lines. Added to this are immediate, melodic guitar lines that'll endear 'Monkey Fist' to you on the very first listen.
That's not to say the song passes by in a blur. It delivers a smart one-two punch on the notably heavier chorus and, during the bridge section, Mills belts out some gravel-voiced high notes, before MonMon launch into an instrumental of tight bass and intricate riffing.
'Monkey Fist' is one of those rare songs where a focus on melody doesn't equal passable listening. An occasionally trippy, occasionally heavy, melodic rock song with bite.
'Knives' really showcases the psychedelic timbre of Mills' voice, stripping the verses down to military-tinged drumbeats and only the vaguest hint of guitar. With fewer musical distractions, Mills' vocals lull the listener into a pleasant stupor that perfectly compliments the song's drug addict-themed lyrical content.
Darker riffs are threaded through the final half of the song, which prevent 'Knives' from just tapering out, as is the danger with such hazy tracks. It also ends the brooding 'Knives' on a fittingly grim note.
'Erato' is another sparse song, but this time the stripping-down process exposes over-complicated and rather random musical switching back and forth.
Roughly half of 'Erato' is held together by a catchy, bass-heavy groove and plodding drumbeats that work reasonably well, in an awkward sort of way. However, 'Erato' also lurches into softer, more melodic indie-rock sections, trimmed in sparkly chords and with just a whisper of the drumbeats and bass that are so central to the verses. MonMon then begin the slow drift back into those jerky, bass-heavy rhythms. A last-minute blast of military drumbeats further muddies the waters.
'Erato' is far too complicated for a song with so few hooks, and as a result you won't be hitting the repeat button.
'A Vase With No Eyes' fares much better. It is, you suspect, the sound of a band cutting loose and having some fun. Boasting a slew of unusual hooks, 'A Vase With No Eyes' is a character-packed song that'll hang around long after you've switched the EP off. An ingeniously fluttering riff, infectious, toe-tapping drumbeats and a wonderfully no-brainer howl of "just like a vase with no eye-eye-eye-eyes!" all make for a kooky track that seems to want to do nothing more than show the listener a good time.
'Monkey Fist' is a diverse EP that proves MonMon can pull off a range of sounds. Their more instant, melodic tracks thankfully don't sound like Nickelback-aping radio-rock, and EP highlight, 'A Vase With No Eyes' is wonderfully quirky. A solid attempt at accessible rock with an edge.