Monocle Reviews

Monocle “Transpacific Sound Paradise” Reviewed at Leonard’s Lair

October 19th, 2013

“Monocle greatly impressed with their first album ‘Outer Sunset’, which came across as the New York born child of Broadcast and Stereolab. Since then mainman Rich Bennett has released several mini albums, one an imaginary soundtrack for an imaginary 80′s cop show whilst the other two, ‘Music For Underwater Supermarkets’ and ‘On Holiday’, largely sounded like the titles suggested. Intriguing and inventive though they were, it’s refreshing to hear him placing the emphasis on song-based material for the belated second album by Monocle.

So what’s changed since the first album? For a start, Bennett has brought in Dead Leaf Echo’s Ana Breton to share vocal duties which adds a welcome contrast to Bennett’s own baritone. There’s also a commendable array of unusual instruments used in these songs. Steel drums (‘Breeze Along With Me’), surf guitar (‘Plastic Beach’) and Wurlitzer instrumentals (‘Swinger400′) all feature but in all honesty only the first of these is essential listening. Otherwise, though, classy moments are generously offered from track to track.

On the first song, ‘Snake’, the bouncy synth lines and strings usher in a great chorus, which is equal parts 1960′s easy listening and electro-pop. ‘Chances Glide’, the single, is an easy choice for a highlight; a pop song which is as much about mystery and intrigue as it is about being insanely addictive. This signals an upsurge in quality from the noirish urgency of ‘Exus’, to the moody jazz-pop ‘Inside The Gate’ and ending on a great high as a wonderfully meandering bassline takes on Stereolab-esque passages of beauty for ‘Most People Believe’.

Being hyper-critical, it’s hard not to feel a little short changed by ‘Transpacific Sound Paradise’, because at just thirty three minutes, this is a very brief album. Nevertheless, this being a Rich Bennett record, it’s a richly diverse offering with the majority of songs clearly touched by his retro-futurist pop genius.”

- Leonard’s Lair

Monocle ‘Chances Glide’ Reviewed at Drowned in Sound

April 9th, 2013

“Essentially the brainchild of Brooklyn based Rich Bennett whose 2010 mini-album on Hidden Shoal Recordings counts as one of that year’s most understated. Monocle‘s debut long player Outer Sunset is a transcendental exercise in ambient dream pop where melody rules supreme. Lead single ‘Chances Glide’ features a vocal contribution from Dead Leaf Echo‘s Ana Breton and is frankly, sublime.”

- Drowned in Sound

Monocle ‘Chances Glide’ Reviewed at SpaceRockMountain

March 18th, 2013

“Dream Pop is an odd thing. Why would anyone want to perpetuate the idea that their music initiates sleep? I enjoy a few ZZZs, but I generally don’t like my music to produce that desired effect.

Thankfully, Monocle is far from a sleep narcotic. Released by the always awesome Australian label Hidden Shoal, the band chases sweeping synth lines with dance centered bass and vocal melodies. This may be Dream Pop, but it would fit well into any party that reaches the 23rd hour and exposes the emotional passion only the evening hours pooled with alcohol can construct. “Chances Glide” only needs a moment’s glance to recognize its pop authenticity, and with that, a simple three minute musical bliss.”

- SpaceRockMountain

Monocle “Outer Sunset” – Hyperbolium

June 15th, 2009

Excerpt: “a thickly produced concoction of sounds that are both retro-futuristic and contemporary, a la Stereolab. Monocle draws heavily from the lounge atmosphere of ‘50s and ‘60s space-age bachelor pad music, packing their swinging tracks with buzzing synthesizers, and ethereal clouds of bass, drums and guitar. The results have the confessional tone of background music, but the energetic bite of productions that demand the foreground. Sunny Kim sings breezy and cool in the manner of Astrud Gilberto, and the instrumental backings have the antsy trance ambience of the Feelies or Luna. This is music from a future in which analog synthesizers are cutting edge, cold war spy films are all the rage and KPM’s swinging stock music library provides the soundtrack to your life.”

Hyperbolium