Album: Happy Pop Family
Label: Mint Records
Release Date: 11/04/2016
Indisputable proof that Monomyth can produce a relatively straightforward, superbly crafted piece of yearning indie-pop is found in “Cool Blue Hello,” a lazy charmer off the band’s latest LP, Happy Pop Family, that has Grand Prix-era Teenage Fanclub written all over it. More often than not, though, main songwriters/guitarists Seamus Dalton and Josh Salter, who also form the rhythm section for Nap Eyes, take pleasure in tweaking and distorting familiar guitar-driven, pop music-making formulas and bending them to their own idiosyncratic will. Everything from twee to power-pop gets a seat at this makeshift table.
Slackers at heart, think of Monomyth as a somewhat less trippy, more compact version of Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd or a mellower Soft Boys – only not quite so fantastical – as “Go Somewhere” lightly wheels about in a ’60s psychedelic time warp and the prismatic “Palpitations” gushes warm euphoria. With new collaborators Scott Grundy and Andrew Mazerolle hopping aboard, Monomyth concoct a colorful, slightly skewed set of irresistible, if occasionally wild and wooly, tunes often twisted and shaped in odd, yet always accessible, ways – the woozy, exceedingly hummable “High on Sunshine” a prime example.
While the absolutely manic “Falling in Love” rushes headlong into a melodic frenzy of clever, slippery hooks, “Puppet Creek” settles into a restrained, almost sleepy groove and the mind-bending “F**k with Me” couches romantic disappointment in fuzzy noise. Understated harmonies make lyrical obsessions with thorny relationship issues and escapism more palatable, as Monomyth mines the catalogs of Creation Records-style Britpop and the mid-fi minimalism of the “Dunedin Sound” of New Zealanders the Clean and the Bats for inspiration and comes up with a handful of gems.