By Spike Brendle
I tried. I tried a few things this week and none of them worked. I tried finding a non female-lead synth-pop band…then the universe delivered me MONOGEM. I then tried to pick just one song, but after a few days I realized that the entire EP was on repeat, constantly. Thank you MONOGEM, universe, and the repeat function for making this week thoroughly enjoyable.
MONOGEM is the brainchild of singer-songwriter Jen Hirsh and producer Scott Smith. Both from Los Angeles, underneath the rich synth, dancy rhythms and sweet sound of Hirsh’s vocals, you can still feel the subtle crash of waves on the SoCal coastline. The transition of the first track to the last goes unnoticed until you finish and ask yourself, “Wait, what just happened?”
The EP starts out with “Wait and See,” which leads the listener to think this is just another synth-pop band trying to get in on some of the action. When the chorus kicks in: “Don’t wake me // I’m dreaming // Can’t take me // Never leaving // Let me be // I’m dreaming // Wait and see.” Hirsh takes us into her “Yes, I know what you want to hear” zone. This track is solid from start to finish. By the end, if you are telling yourself “Wow, this is the perfect pop song,” you are going to love the rest of the album.
In between the first and last track, we are taken on a quest from modern synth-pop, through 80s girl pop, (yes the 80s reference comes from the track "Silhouette," with an intro somewhat reminiscent to Eddie Money’s “Take Me Home Tonight”) to...can I make a new genre here? R&B wave-pop? By the time we get to the last track, “The Glow” you will have no idea what era you may be in.
I had sent “The Glow” to a few friends after listening to the whole EP about a billion times. Contrary to my opinion, I got a lot of push back on this one. I then realized, you really need to listen to the whole EP front-to-back to really appreciate and understand this last track. This is the where the 90s R&B influence really shines, but on top of a super modern electro-dance pop rhythm. Personally, this is my favorite track on the EP. Figure it out for yourself, but don’t choose yours until you listen to the whole thing.
Regardless, this album has been Stuck On Play Everyday for the last week, and I have only grown to love it more and more each time I play it. Just feel the “oooooh’s” in “Stay With Me” and you will know what I mean.