Angel and the Love Mongers | The Humanist Queen (Disgraceland)

lovemongerStrange and surprising, the sophomore release from Angel and the Love Mongers, The Humanist Queen, despite its peculiar titling manages to capture a catchy mish-mash of Depche Mode-like vocals and a sound reminiscent of The Cure, Morrissey, and Pulp.

 

 

 

 

Strange and surprising, the sophomore release from Angel and the Love Mongers, The Humanist Queen, despite its peculiar titling manages to capture a catchy mish-mash of Depche Mode-like vocals and a sound reminiscent of The Cure, Morrissey, and Pulp. Teaming up with producer Mitch Easter (Let's Active) and artists Tim Lee (Windbreakers and the Tim Lee Band) and Paul Noe (The Judybats), vocalist Angel Zuniga and drummer Eric Nowinski are certainly one of the more interesting sounds to emerge from Knoxville, Tennessee, as of late. Zuniga, a former actor and model who has taken his inspiration from many an 80s alternative dance band, and Nowinski, a trial lawyer-turned-musician have just the right background to make for either an incredibly talented performance or truly frustrating audio experience.

Thankfully for listeners, the former is true. In the vein of ’80s and Brit-pop revivalists, Angel and the Love Mongers, with their jaunty songs and downbeat lyrics carve a peculiarly satisfying experience at first with "Nikki Hart," a melodramatic love-fare that warms up to the rather jaunty "The Humanist Queen," which peps along catchy and rhythmic, despite its na-na-na-ing and shaky lyrics. "What do I know?" has a particular rolling disillusionment to it that might well-accompany movie soundtracks that require some interesting strolling music with a hint of Jarvis.

"Let it Be Done" smacks thickly of snyth-goth oddities Spahn Ranch, while playfully accepting the similarity in sound to "Funkytown". Thick with Depeche Mode repetitions, morphing upbeats and drops, and the slightest bit of sexuality stapled to a decent guitar breakdown or two, this song breaks away into the rocky "Sitting on a Bomb," a chipper-sounding downer with smooth metaphors and a rather soothing delivery of some rather unsunny ideas.

"Sideways" has a strong build up from its Cure-like guitar opening. Toss in a few fallen angel metaphors, some synth vibes, and a couple tambourine shakes and, well, it's still what it is, which is not particularly strong compared to previous tracks, but it does mark a change in pace for the album. Mellowing out a bit, "Speak Straight to Me or Die" a wry, slightly dancy, bit of Oingo Boingo joins "Frankenstein's Friend," a track that conjures images of saloons and organ grinders, muffled vocals, and echoey back-and-forthings, which make for great punk boy jerk-dance material. "Home," "It Turns," "The Framed," and "Tornado Wind," progress from smooth and swaying homages to Morrissey to a rather resigned, at times playful, twist of bluesy, low-toned choruses.

Normally, a band that makes as many claims and comparisons as this one has would indicate a surefire trip to the trashcan, but happily, some of these claims are defensible. Not only that, but the overall effect of the album is quite satisfying. Varied enough to be interesting, and catchy enough to distract from some lyrical roadblocks. Bravo. A- | James Nokes

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply