Monograms is the alias of Brooklyn, New York City’s Ian Jacobs, a self-styled ‘Nuke Wave’ artist who communicates tones with dynamics and velocity from post-punk to gritty pop, psych and new-wave.
He returns with his third full-length LP `A Fine Commitment` this month.
We are introduced to this release with `Wink Void` which has a sense of awakening with some enticing electronic sounds and vocals shared atop before it really bursts into life. The premise of the song, i read is in trying to predict the future. At times it reminded me of the more reflective new wave synth pop New Order offerings. I thought there was a springier much bouncier, upbeat feel to `Say It` with its driving guitar riff and tapped tambourine. A song that relates to feeling the weight of the world.
`Walk On Weather` had a vibrant almost challenging vibe initially but became more reflective and hypnotic as it evolved. There was a real intoxicating joy to `HI Low` which to me was really trippy nigh on psychedelic composition. One that I have to say I played a few times before moving on. It reflects on the peaks and troughs that life can throw at you and how we come to deal with them mentally. It was inspired by a period of Monograms’ life when mental health struggles would dominate his day-to-day existence.
The next couple of songs are a play on words whose meanings are diametrically opposed and blend into each other. First up is `Sim Pull` which isn`t as straightforward as the title suggests but a delightfully inducing listen. A number that is fairly stripped back initially with strummed acoustic guitar and dreamy orchestrated strings sprinkled over and around. It does increase in intensity and volume as it progresses. The latter `Com Plex` is almost uncomplicated and fairly rhythmic with a repetitive underlying electronic dance like beat. I read later that these tracks reflected on traumas of the past and how we can move on.
`Carry The Weight` is a glistening slice of fast paced electro post punk with lyrics that relate to overcoming the intensity of the world when its relentless traffic becomes all too much. We have a harder edge to `Night Dress` with its pounding electronic pulse like beat that veers towards EBM at times throughout.
`All The Time` races along with a pounding drum beat and reverberating guitar riff with vocals that sound almost haunting layered on top before ending abruptly. Deep riffs lead us through `Collider` which I read makes observations on politics and a sense of alienation in wider society. It does paint a dystopian picture of isolation at times.
The wonderfully titled `The Moon Is Right` is a third of the way through before the vocal joins and it`s a number that I found was quite mesmerising and sucked me into its atmospheric tiers. We close out with` Listen Up` which was a little jagged and angular on occasions and fairly ethereal as well which seems almost contradictory. It`s a song that is about trying to change your perspective from something negative to something positive. climax.
`A Fine Commitment’ was inspired by a period of Monograms’ life when mental health struggles would dominate his daily life. A kind of musical snapshot of a challenging period, if you like, which i`m sure proved quite cathartic for the artist. It`s fairly honest musically and emotionally and may encourage us all to examine similar periods that we have endured.
A thought provoking but enjoyable listen.
Rating 8.5 / 10