Monograms, the project of multi-instrumentalist Ian Jacobs, impressed many with the release of the 2018 EP, “Silencer,” a short, hook-filled four-track compilation, each recorded in a different studio session with varied lineups. Now, the project has taken another step forward in its evolution — from its origins as a one-man bedroom project to a full, consistent lineup. Its debut release, “Living Wire,” dropped September 21 via Paper Cup Music. With its current lineup in tow, Jacobs has solidified a sonic vision and direction for Monograms, one that draws from a variety of different influences.
The songs on “Living Wire” weave together in a cohesive collection — radiating a distinct sound with a modern twist on ‘80s synth-pop, big beat electronica, and goth post-punk. The songs possess a rigor, attitude and energy that’s driven by Jacobs’ ability to deftly blend warped guitars with melancholic melodies that set a dark mood.
Tracks like the album’s lead single, “Don’t Fight For It,” feature danceable beats with an almost industrial feel and ooze eerie synths, giving it a very new wave feel. Other standouts include “Common Circles,” which is driven by a thumping bassline and a lively rhythm section; “Pirate Government Inc.,” a dark and expansive track in which the synths, bass, and electro-beat swirl together in a spectral fashion; and the record’s penultimate track, the hooky and guitar-centric “Garbage Can.”
Jacobs describes the overarching lyrical themes as speaking to “the current state of creativity and the controlled environment that we exist within,” a critique on the current pervasive and omnipresent state of technology that pairs nicely with the record’s dark, electronic sonic atmosphere.
You can purchase Living Wire on vinyl via Bandcamp.
All images courtesy of Monograms.
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