Many styles are present on I Dream Your Melt Shapes, ranging from post-rock to ambient to electronic, but the most appealing is a shoegaze vibe. For those who miss that sound, this EP is a pleasant reminder that all is not lost. For newcomers, it’s a way to discover the sound without the pesky vocals attached.
Semantic connections abound. One might imagine Monotronaut as Mono + God Is An Astronaut, guest guitarist Blue Sky Spirits as a fan of Midnight Oil (“Blue Sky Mine”) and the track “If Not Now, Then When” as an homage to Tracy Chapman. The time frame is right for these suppositions. The music fits as well: modern and retro, respectful and forward. This EP could not have been recorded in the 80s, but without the 80s, it would never have happened. These bass notes carry aural fragrances of The Cure and New Order, first apparent on “Origins” but discernible on hidden Bandcamp track “Security” (the title of a 1982 Peter Gabriel album). On “If Not Now, Then When”, the sound shifts to the swirling timbres of Catherine Wheel. The listening experience comforts like the new edition of an old blanket: the tatters are gone, but the emotional resonance remains intact.
Fans of early alternative rock will likely form an instant connection to this release, which continues a move away from Monotronaut’s earlier, ambient-dominant sound. The increased presence of guitars is a step in the right direction. It’s hard to tell what’s coming next, as the artist is still in flux. Our advice is simple: continue to map the thin membrane between shoegaze and post-rock, and add a distinctive tinge that others will eventually call “the Monotronaut sound”. (Richard Allen)