If you are interested in music to make your sleep come a little quicker, the relaxed, echoing vocals which have been mumbled through Monoganon’s album Family should suffice. The debut album on first listen does not fill the listener with excitement, more that of music you would expect to find in the background of quirky café’s or restaurants where no-one is listening anyway. However the Scottish fuzz-pop quartet has created more of a grower of an album, where eventually you appreciate the subtlety’s and flourishes of vocals and drums in each track. Eventually takes a lot longer than most would hold out.
‘Quick Cresent Moon’ is a slightly anti-climactic opening track, with monotonous vocals from frontman John McKenna, and soft guitar accompanying rippling echos of cymbals, acting as the only thing keeping you awake through these deflated opening tracks. ‘Wasted Teens’ starts off in a befittingly messy manner, turning into a melancholy, bird-song filled song with equally drowsy qualities.
By the time you reach ‘Arc of the Tuna Fish’ it seems the band has finally got into the swing of their own album, but this takes its form in guitar distortion and unsettling instrumentation. From that point on however, an effective growing tension is built in vocals which grow ever more restless, highlighted in ‘Car Coming Home’, which has a bass-line that can you almost the hear the strings wobbling through.
‘Bean A Daughter’ has an overly creepy opening, with the eerie ‘must haves’ of laughter, whispy vocals and whining guitars encapsulating the consistent unease of Family. The rest of the track is the least watered down you’ll find on Family, with punchy drums and rumbling guitar finally providing the emotional backbone sadly lacking from the rest of the album.
1) Quick Cresent Moon
2) Wasted Teens
4) Best Pals
5) Arc Of the Tuna Fish
6) All You Need To Know Is Now
7) Car Coming Home
8) Bean A Daughter
9) Ivory and Tusk
All in all Family seems a rather contrived first attempt at ambient-emotion, ending up feeling like background music, with too much emphasis placed on those resonating vocals recorded in the Scottish mountains where no-one could hear them. Perhaps it was for the best.