Monade | Monstre Cosmic (Too Pure)

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cd_monade.jpgReally, it's okay to sound like yourself, right?



Would I be able to tell the difference between Stereolab and Monade if listening to them back to back? Probably not. Would I care? Not really. Not that Monstre Cosmic sounds quite like any Stereolab albums I am familiar with, but it could easily be their next album. While band members often want their side projects to sound nothing like their more well-known efforts, Laetitia Sadier shows that sticking with what works, well, works. Really, it's okay to sound like yourself, right?

Monade is the other band of Stereolab lyricist and singer, Laetitia Sadier. What started as Sadier's bedroom recording project shifted into a four-piece. On this album, the third effort by Monade, Laetitia takes on vocals, moog, tambourine, and trombone, with Marie Merlet on bass and vocals, Nicolas Etienee on keys, and Xavier Chabellard on drums. Also thrown into the mix are random city sounds.

At first, I found Monstre Cosmic to be good background music, but quickly wanted to play it loud and listen intently. Unfortunately, I don't know a lick of French, so lyrically I am lost on all but a couple of tracks. To paraphrase Sadier, her original idea for the record was to have one long track that, like an ever-changing river, would take its course. This is a good metaphor for Monstre, as it subtly varies as it goes and, to be obvious with the water metaphors, flows quite nicely. Also mentioned in the press release for this album, significant connections were made by Sadier to two films by David Lynch, Inland Empire and Forbidden Planet. This also makes sense, as the entire album does have rather ethereal feel to it.

To give up the Stereolab comparisons for a minute, at some points, Monstre Cosmic sounds a lot like another European group, Electrelane. This is especially evident on the ninth track, "Etre Chien et Loup." At the center of the song, there is a time change and intensity is gained musically and vocally in a way that Electrelane often utilizes. To be fair, there have been times when I've played Electrelane and have been asked if I was playing Stereolab, so we're back to that, I guess.

If you don't like Stereolab or spacey indie French pop, you will not enjoy this album. If you like of love either thing, Monstre Cosmic will not disappoint; it's simply more of a good thing. A | Jaffa Aharonov

RIYL: Stereolab, Electrelane, Blonde Redhead

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