Mono Club – Sky High & Submarine

The debut album from Mono Club is an easy going listen. One that’s full of promise and charm and an easy on the ear treat for listeners. There’s a clean-cut attitude throughout Sky High & Submarine that invites you in instead of inviting itself in. The music comes with a sense of politeness, one that’ll initially win you over. Mono Club dabble with very kind sounding instrumentation and have a good ear for detail making their debut something equal parts charming, rich and rewarding.

It’s a very clean sounding album. The production provides a suiting level of polish to the band which brings out all the details which is one of the best things about the album. Its cleanliness isn’t something sanitary however and the songs all have their own lives. ‘Memory Critical’ is where the album’s vision seems clearest. It all makes sense at this point what they’re trying to do and some tighter binding does wonders for their sound. There’s an almost Happy Mondays beat under the track which gives it a very strong flow. It shows real promise for the album. Mono Club seem to seek out to kill you with kindness and Sky High & Submarine becomes a difficult album to wrestle with.

Songs like ‘Other People’s Words’ and ‘Best Laid Plans’ along with ‘Memory Critical’ are the album’s strongest and give it a sense of place and identity. These are the songs with the tightest binding around them which is something that works very well within Mono Club’s sound. The loose feel of the album works well, but when the songs pull a bit more focus and their sound is more concentrated is when it’s at its strongest.

Sky High & Submarine juggles a lot of ideas around and its production draws all these ideas out. It does what a good debut does and presents to you the sound of Mono Club, the vision of itself as an album is a little vague but everything in there does show promise and the songs have their own life. It’s something that I find myself constantly changing my opinion about when reflecting on it.

The way that Mono Club have put together the album makes it one that gives something new with each listen. There’s so much in the mix that once you’ve gotten used to how it sounds, new details start to pop out which go unnoticed at first. I was indifferent to it on a first listen and had it pegged as an indie-pop album. The more I delved into the album the more it had to offer. It definitely falls into the canon of indie-pop but that’s not where its influences really seem to be. The band create these massive songs which almost sound new each time. There’s much more at play here than a first impression will give you.

Sky High & Submarine is a very endearing album. What it does lack in strong hooks it makes up for with its own charm. Their vision isn’t distilled into its final form yet but Mono Club’s debut shows that the band are full of ideas. What it seems to miss is a striking quality about it. Whilst the instrumentation and vocals are all enjoyable to listen to, nothing really comes properly to the forefront. All the sounds sit very well together but there isn’t a focused element of their sound. The vocal does much the same as the instrumentation surrounding it, causing it to get a little lost.

There is a winning formula in Mono Club’s music, one that’s set to put you in a good mood. It’s music to daydream to and something that’s incapable of dampening your day. The personality behind the music is the band’s key point. It’s pleasant and warm. Whilst its humbleness may curb it from striking a chord with a larger audience, those who find their way to it will be won over. The overall positivity and feel of the album when listening makes it a worthwhile listen. Mono Club certainly show that there’s a chemistry between the band and they are onto something. I do look forward to seeing where they go next.

Chris Middleton