Wednesday, December 2, 2020
Monophonics return with chest-out soul 'Chances'

Monophonics return with chest-out soul ‘Chances’

New single mixes Stax and Funk Brothers feel with modern effects and powerhouse vocals from Kelly Finnigan.


Chances” the chest-out and sturdy, nimble groover, chronicles, in just over three minutes, the end of a relationship due to all the love which goes, and keeps on going, one way. Familiar with Kelly Finnigan? Lead singer of the Bay Area-based Monophonics? Here is a cheat code. When this vocalist puts us through the paces—hovering between upper register braggadocio and groveling spurned-fella, projecting pain through a whispery falsetto, pinging between Durando and Anderson .Paak—a deep, northern or sweetly constructed retro-soul joint is about to drop.

Letʻs go.

Using emotive lyrics that speak to everybody, drum sounds from a previous era that Pete Rock or any other golden era hip-hop producer would definitely  snatch, plus the endless attack of a BOSS rhythm section… See THIS is why Al Bell, iconic producer and co-owner of Stax Records proclaimed several years back Monophonics were “One of the best live soul bands I have ever seen.”

Monophonics always do sound things: choices that place emphasis on production value. Task number one.

The musicians construct weighty, densely packed soul tracks, which come off classic, but still acknowledge Motown’s Funk Brothers, the songwriting of Gamble/Huff and Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section aka The Swampers.

Listen when you have a band, who played with or backed up Bill Withers, Marvin Gaye, Beck, Jimi Hendrix, Joe Cocker, and Etta James…You CAN dance that close to The Sun.

Finnigan put out a solo record this past April on Colemine, Tales People Tell, utilizing his vast record knowledge and multi-instrumental talents. Resulting in a drum-heavy, distorted and fuzzy soul record that banked fidelity on woolly textures, complex horn charts, and knotty arrangements. Playing that “damn I got taken again” vocal character, Finnigan can channel real emotional immediacy. It puts ears on alert.

“Chances” sees the band return whole with vertical bass lines, hovering vibraphone, sparkling guitar, and chunky horn arrangements. It’s all the support background singers the “soul mates” and lead Finnigan need to show why empathetic lovers should think twice about giving “so many chances.”

“Chances” is released October 25th on Colemine Records. More info here. 

John-Paul Shiver
John-Paul Shiver has been contributing to 48 Hills since 2019. His work as an experienced music journalist and pop culture commentator has appeared in the Wire, Resident Advisor, SF Weekly, Bandcamp Daily, PulpLab, AFROPUNK, and Drowned In Sound.

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