Monogrenade made their case the first time I stumbled into the “Intro“. The beauty of the band’s expertly realized atmospheric demeanor became increasingly apparent as Tantale unwound, a trait that contrasts many of my most revered albums. The more I listened, the more I realized that this Canadian quartet doesn’t bother beating around the bush. Their music is simply breathtaking, and there’s absolutely no reason to question it.
Where Monogrenade excels is not in its technicalities. Percussion, guitars and vocals all seemingly fall into their own proper space, without the need for any bombastic spectacles, flashy solos or complicated movements. Instead of getting technical, the band runs like a relatively predictable well-oiled machine, but with one unifying, fully saturated characteristic: subtlety.
Every piece of the puzzle is subtle. Staccato string pickings, piano flourishes and atmospheric soundscapes litter Tantale with intrigue, leading the listener along on a well-conceived journey, rather than to a forced, random mishmash of destinations. And while not fully understanding the French lyrics, I had no trouble being whisked away by Monogrenade‘s own unique musical dialect.
The quartet isn’t afraid of pushing the boundaries of the alt-indie genre, and incorporates a wide array of styles throughout Tantale. Most notable, a style that’s most apparent in the above video for “La marge“, is their old-timey, almost film-noir -esque demeanor. This phenomenon is characterized by slow, churning beats laid out against a backdrop of minor keys and haunting vocals – a trait exhibited most succinctly in the album’s title track.
A few upbeat tracks accompany the slow burn of Tantale, helping to move the listener along toward its ultimate destination: the beautiful “La fissure“. While the song emits a certain classical nature, its overall movement is spellbinding. Swirling strings and articulate piano play off one another magnificently, conversing back and forth while discreet vocals sneak in a few verses.
Overall, Tantale is a beauty. The album is well-paced, complementing its distinctly epic feel. And although it doesn’t run overly-long, the ambition of the album keeps things interesting for its entirety. Monogrenade is undoubtedly a band to watch out for in the upcoming year.
Sounds like: Radiohead, Half Moon Run, Pinegrove
Stand out tracks:
Take a listen to my home-brewed instrumental/electronic/indie album
"Where Were We When" and download it for as many coconuts as you can spare.
Coconuts are delicious, though their milk tastes like pond water.