MUSIC REVIEW – MONOMANIA.
Monomania are a Manchester based rock band who actually allow you to hear their lyrics over the guitar, base and drums, which is always a sign that the lyrics are worth listening to. The tracks on their Deadtape Promotional CD, and available on their myspace page http://www.myspace.com/monomaniaUK shows some influence from The Fall, reminiscent of the early fresh years of Manchester music.
Championed by Manchester’s Terry Christian, and the late great John Peel, the band has received rave reviews from many in the industry and they have gained growing respect among the critics.
Their songs have a melancholic edge, being largely about loss and despair, but never get sentimental or miserable. Fin, for example, begins with a deceptive few bars of romantic Spanish Guitar, which is shattered by the rock score in seconds to give a sense of how fleeting the happy times were. The band goes on to sing of a someone trying to understand why a former friend avoids them now, and doesn’t seem willing to discuss their issues together. The partner proves unwilling to negotiate a settlement or explain why they are becoming so alienated. It’s a song about a relationship that breaks up without the male partner being fully aware of what he has done so horribly wrong as to force the girl to hate him so much. Many listening to the words will relate to this, even as they dance to it with there new and potentially pending partners.
There are some equally sharp themes in the number; Closure - “I want closure/ I can live without you.” Is sung as a defiant farewell taunt to a partner who things didn’t work out with. The tone is that of someone who really isn’t comfortable with that goodbye at all however.
In Matriz, there is a dispute between lovers planning a family over whether to have a boy or a girl, and the emphasis on having the parent’s eyes and being in the womb is an indication of anger that the girl is too under the influence of her own parents, and won’t allow her as yet “still in the womb baby” to be brought up without inheriting some of the characteristics of his or her past.
Sofabed is about man reduced to sleeping on the said sofabed alone trying to avoid thinking of his partner sleeping with someone else – he tells himself over and over that he won’t even try to picture the idea, which indicates that he is doing just that and torturing himself by doing so.
The songs are predominantly about loss and separation but they never sound ‘slash your wrists’ depressing in a way that Morrissey or Leonard Cohen do.
Saw the band live on Wednesday 28th February 2007 at Manchester’s Hard Rock Café. The band was playing in support to the also terrific Say Jansfield though the bands could easily have swapped places on the bill.
Monomania played a terrific short set, too short, but then it’s always a good sign when the audience wants more.
The lead players took their craft quite seriously, concentrating on their performance intensely. Their drummer by contrast was grinning from ear to ear throughout the set as if at the sheer pleasure of playing live in a cool up and coming rock band – it never detracted from his performance though. If anything, it enhanced it.
The songs familiar to me were as good as ever, with anew one for me called Creativity After Sex about how a man struggles for how to occupy his mind and time in the aftermath of a close relationship.There was alter number giving the band’s sense of Northern humour at its best with the chorus refrain ‘Five urinals on the wall / It’s a real dilemma when nature calls’. This captured perfectly the indecision many men face over which urinal to approach in gents after several beers. A great set from a band that will undoubtedly go on to greater heights yet.
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