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The Mono LPS Great Record

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The Mono LPS SHUFFLE/PLAY. Fretsore Records

The song ‘Think About It’ is our love letter to the ‘80s.” says Ste Reid “It came about through watching Stranger Things and loving that Juno 6 synth sound. We loved the arpeggiator on the TV theme and started experimenting with bringing synths into our sound with this song. It was the first song we really got into on the album and started experimenting with.”

A record inspired-by and intended for the digital age, SHUFFLE/PLAY finds a band communicating a range of moods, styles and genres as they seek to emulate the sensation of a playlist on random.

As Ste Reid of the band elaborates:

This is our second album and we wanted to try something different. We came up with a concept of a playlist after realising that people don’t listen to albums in their entirety any more, with technologies such as Spotify and other streaming platforms. The whole vision of plotting an album’s songs to meld together as one complete piece of art is being challenged by these platforms. So we decided to make an anti-concept album. We have essentially become ten different bands from various genres and eras to create our own album playlist.

With all songs written and performed by Ste Reid and Vicky Reid, additional instrumentation, mixing and mastering was supplied by Danny Woodward. In addition, Amy Chalmers (of folk band Two Black Sheep) added the violin parts heard on ‘Chancy Gardener’.

Review

STEVEN REID - lead vocal, guitars, piano
VICKY REID - cellos
CHRIS BARLOW - bass
DAN BEECH - drums
STEVEN REID & VICKY REID - backing vocals

In a climate where the major artists and labels create songs suitable for mainstream listening, streaming, and radio airplay, The Mono LPS have taken a more adventurous route. However, I do not agree with the band’s premise that people ‘don’t listen to albums in their entirety anymore‘. Yes, with the advent and growth in streaming many do tend to select individual songs rather than complete albums, but, there are still many who also still value the complete album - whether conceptual in nature or not. That said, by accident or design the band has created an interesting album that offers (intended or not) a distinctive sound and potential signature groove.

Opener ‘Think About It’ thrills with its rocky bass-driven vibe that explodes from the opening notes and sustains an exciting vibe throughout. Add to this a excellent performances strong melody and decent lyrics and you have the perfect rock single that will inspire radio listeners. A great start. ‘Make Your Mind Up’ slackens the pace and introduces a more threatening, bluesy feel with echoes of the Beatles in the instrumental arrangement. The backing vocals in the choruses are note-worthy with another melody to hold the attention. So far, so very good.

‘The Bomb’ has a novel and adventurous instrumental opening before Reid’s great vocal enters. The sound is diverse but sonically I feel the song matches the previous ones which may be down to clever production, but it sounds to me that the band has found a new and distinctive voice. Strings enter after the middle-eight adding an element of drama to the proceedings. ‘Hell, Save My Soul’ ups the rock anti with a rhythmic humdinger of a song with guitar riff choruses and marching drums sounding brilliant. ‘Getting Away With It’ goes uptempo with a relentless rhythm that wouldn’t be out of place on the dance floor. ‘Love Me’ sports another thumping rhythm with cello adding a welcome contrast as Reid pleads ‘Why don’t you love me/why don’t you need me/because I know that you’re feeling deep inside.”

‘Chancy Gardner’ offers a folky interlude with strings beautifully dominating the instrumental backdrop. Lyrics like “As long as the roots are strong/people will get along/people will get along/…All will be good in the garden/ Wait for the sumer and spring/see all the good it will bring…all will be well in the garden” points to band writers who recognise that simplicity and meaning have great value in song-writing. Again there’s a distinct Beatles flavour to this lovely song.

‘You Say’ opens with scary electronic sounds before opening up to a more conventional arrangement. The song ends the record on an emotional and moving note, with mourning cello making a gorgeous return and piano making a strong and dramatic appearance. It then develops into an epic piece with its exciting extended instrumental outro. Whatever the band intended with this record, they have created something special that must figure strongly in creating a signature sound for them. There’s diversity of mood and pace but there’s something at the heart of this record that accessibly moves, inspires and above all entertains. And incidentally provides justification, if any were needed, of the musical value of a full album…and certainly one of my favourite albums of the year so far.

4.5/5

Tracks

1. Think About It 03:23
2. Make Your Mind Up 04:09
3. The Bomb 03:49
4. Hell, Save My Soul 03:45
5. Getting Away With It All 03:27
6. Love Me 03:48
7. Chancy Gardener 02:36
8. Sunlight 03:34
9. Not The Only One 03:34
10.You Say 06:45

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BIOGRAPHY

The Mono LPs are a dynamic Liverpool outfit comprising frontman/guitarist Ste Reid, cellist/vocalist Vicky Reid, bassist Chris Barlow, and drummer Tom McCabe.

Created by accident, The Mono LPs started when Ste Reid chanced upon Vicky (then-Mutch), a relation of Elvis Costello, in a coffee shop. Intrigued by the huge case Vicky was holding, Ste asked her what string instrument she was playing - the rest is history. With the unusual addition of a cello into the mix, The Mono LPs’ distinct baroque-fuelled, bluesy rock ‘n’ roll sound has earned them a dedicated fanbase (the ‘Monettes’), media praise from the likes of NME, LOUDER THAN WAR and BBC Introducing and fans in the music community including Mick Jones, Alan McGee, Blood Red Shoes and The View. Impressing at major festivals such as Kendal Calling and Sound City, the band’s local shows at the famous Cavern Club and Zanzibar in their hometown have proven wall-to-wall sell-outs.

Releasing their debut: STATES OF DECAY to acclaim in 2016, The Mono LPs are now readying its long awaited follow-up, SHUFFLE/PLAY, for release on Fretsore Records later in 2021.

https://themonolpsofficial.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/themonolps/
https://twitter.com/themonolps?lang=en
https://www.instagram.com/themonolpsd/


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