Monomyth – Saturnalia Regalia!

Saturnalia RegaliaWith their atmospheric bar permanently set to a sobering high, Monomyth are a four-piece Halifax harbinger of their own exclusively labelled ‘janglophile’ pop. Grungy, mellow music with morello sour songwriting, the work on offer for their debut album Saturnalia Regalia! works away at your lowest point of the day like the most carefully constructed pop tune, but without that cloying cleanliness. It’s a breezy 28-minutes filled with mostly just one mood, yet every listen takes one on a long and rewarding trip through the heart of their great many, heavy influences.

What’s immediately clear is how carefully Monomyth have striven to find a shoegaze sound they can work to its fullest. The hook laden twin-guitars and exalted vocals featured all through the first track, finale and everything in between could do wonders even just on their own. There’s a juxtaposition of clean with carefree playing that we first really hear up close in “Pac Ambition”, giving us not only a blissfully harmonious opening, but a spooky The dB’s re-run when allowed to run away with each other in the latter bridge.

That’s not to throw away the rest of Saturnalia Regalia!’s bells and whistles. The extravagant arpeggios and pop punk-borrowed shredding wouldn't be as wholesome as they are without the band’s rhythmic section, using all too easily overlooked bass lines to fill in the blanks for The Monkeys inspired “Theme From Monomyth” and first single “Candleholder”. It’s “Something Else” though that really feels its namesake, opening purely with bass and drum, both of which handle things fine before the singing butts in to guide us to where the band clearly put the most heart into the record.

Whilst disparate in subject matter, lyrically these tracks mix few emotions with many topics. “Downer”, not only being the source of the more out-there instrumental work, trots out a croaky voice in its final minute, who tells us some dark thoughts about his Grandad’s 90th birthday. The proverbial Debbie of the tracklist, it’s nevertheless proof that Mononyth’s sometimes too euphoric chanting is a disguise for a level of depth that’s been a staple of their work even from their early self-released cassettes.

Not bound to a concept or over-arching goal, Saturnalia Regalia!’s separately written songs are but a mere demonstrative effort of the high standard by which these Canadian east-coast hermits  hold to. As a non-specific display of their talents, it rises above just being a polished sales pitch, and is an encouraging promise for a more streamlined hero's journey that they may embark on in the future.

Release: 22nd July 2014, Mint Records


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