“”Think About It” is our love letter to the ’80s.” says Ste Reid “It came about through watching Stranger Things and loving that Juno 6 synth sound. We loved the arpeggiator on the TV theme and started experimenting with bringing synths into our sound with this song. It was the first song we really got into on the album and started experimenting with.”
While the distinctive “rock’n’roll with a cello” innovations of their 2016 debut, ‘States of Decay’, may have demonstrated a band dipping their toes in an ocean of sounds; its follow-up finds The Mono LPs diving in head-first for something altogether more ambitious.
A record inspired-by and intended for the digital age, ‘Shuffle/Play’ finds a band surfing through a range of moods, styles and genres with algorithmic abandon as they seek to emulate the sensation of a playlist on random.
As Ste Reid of the band elaborates:
“This is our second album and we wanted to try something different. We came up with a concept of a playlist after realising that people don’t listen to albums in their entirety any more, with technologies such as Spotify and other streaming platforms. The whole vision of plotting an album’s songs to meld together as one complete piece of art is being challenged by these platforms. So we decided to make an anti-concept album. We have essentially become ten different bands from various genres and eras to create our own album playlist.”
Shapeshifting through psych-infused chamber-pop compositions (“Chancy Gardener”), to offbeat jazz straight out of a speak-easy parlour (“Make Your Mind Up”); balearic-infused EDM bangers (“Love Me”), to rollicking 70s-styled rock’n’roll romps (“Hell, Save My Soul”); ‘Shuffle/Play’ rifles through hit-after-hit like your lifelong collection on divine rotation. Ruminations on David Bowie (“The Bomb”) skip to reflections of Portishead (in the moving closer “You Say”), via stylistic nods to The XX, The Coral, The Beatles and more, in a record that never shies from its influences.
Amidst the randomness though, the songs of ‘Shuffle/Play’ are united in their thoughtful exploration of emotions through all seasons. Songs of toxic relationships (“Make Your Mind Up”, “Getting Away With It”) jump to advice for getting-on with your life (“Think About It”). Thoughts of unrequited love (“Love Me”), later give pause for thought that maybe there’s two sides to every story (“Not The Only One”). Feelings of societal dislocation (“Chancy Gardener”) are mirrored by stories of striving for greater connection (“Sunlight”). If you didn’t know what mood you were in before you pressed play, that mood will have almost certainly found you by the end of this set.
With a mix of songs predating their ‘States of Decay’ record to a clutch of new material penned in the interim years, initial demos for what would become ‘Shuffle / Play’ were laid down at the home of the band’s husband/wife duo Vicky & Ste Reid. With ideas of an expansive four-piece band sound and a vivid playlist concept in mind, the pair took the tracks to celebrated producer Danny Woodward. Working with Woodward, the band combined the playground of vintage equipment at Whitewood Studios with his expertise to bring their genre-spanning vision into focus.
With all songs written and performed by Ste Reid and Vicky Reid, additional instrumentation, mixing and mastering was supplied by Danny Woodward. In addition, Amy Chalmers (of folk band Two Black Sheep) added the elegant violin parts heard on “Chancy Gardener”.
Unexpected and eclectic at every turn, The Mono LPs’ sophomore effort finds a band determined to break away from the conventional “second album” to deliver one more directly plugged-in to our contemporary listening habits. Play it backwards, play it forwards, play it in any order; just make sure you don’t skip a beat. Capturing all the chaos, creativity and curiosity that a playlist on random brings, The Mono LPs invite you ‘Shuffle/Play’ this Spring.
THE MONO LPS ALBUM: ‘SHUFFLE/PLAY’ – OUT 23 APRIL 2021, VIA FRETSORE RECORDS AVAILABLE ON DIGITAL, CD, & VINYL
Around the release of their new album, The Mono LPs will be airing highlights from the new album at a series of scheduled live appearances.
Performing on ‘Live from the Edge’, the band will be making a televised appearance as part of ‘All About The Music Television’, a new 3 hour music TV show on Showcase TV. Tune in on Sky Channel 191 on Sunday 18th April to catch the band in action. Further details here: https://www.facebook.com/allaboutthemusictv/
Plus, on Saturday 24th April, catch the band performing a full set live on Facebook and Twitch as they celebrate the release of ‘Shuffle / Play’ with a special launch party gig. Tune in HERE.