Album review – Stay Foggy by Monnone Alone (2021) (Emotional Response / Meritorio Records / Lost and Lonesome / Royal Mint)
I somehow stumbled across the promo email fromMeritorio Records amid the usual 11,000 ‘Bandcamp Friday mails’ offering me the monthly opportunity to devour the various re-mixes of 2012 demos, that bands and labels tend to offer on that ‘special day’.
It was plainly glorious fate. For this album, by ex-The Lucksmiths man, Mark Monnone, thrives on a sense of under-produced subdued and dulcet that is created by recording the original versions to Monnone’s 8 track device (much of which was retained when producer Gareth Parton of The Go! Team, Foals, Breeders fame, added perfect coherence) and due to the fact that, the Melbourne 2020 lockdown he recorded them in, meant this was a definitive solo project rather than the obviously more rounded full band sound of the previous, Summer of the Mosquito, album of 2019.
At it’s very best Stay Foggy thrives on the juxtaposition of all manner of Indie Australiana and the best of the mid-90s The Lemonheads / Evan Dando style slacker pop. Here tracks such as Pepper Jar, Andalusia and Time Is On The Run, course lucid jangled riffs and sub-mid tempo vibrancy, through melodies that have no right to be so beautiful among such levels of lethargy.
Of course a ‘jangler’ of such pedigree cannot be totally consumed by casuality before the need to break free somewhat consumes him. As such we see him add dynamism with Something Creeping, The Silos and Painted Brick that are smothered in the most sumptuous of melodic fuzz-pop, whereas the more traditional jangle-pop / guitar pop aesthetic that he is famed for, shimmer through in Bumpy Bits, Hard Feelings and the superlative stand out of Feeling It Disappearing.
Although everything that Mark Monnone touches has always seems to turn to perfect jangle, there is just something immediately warm and emotional about this solo work that makes me hope that the end of the eventual pandemic does not mean he turns his back on this aesthetic for good.