A few months ago, I received a single from a Kingston folk group. I was told that the single was the first release in preparation for an upcoming debut album, whose release date remained unspecified. The track was called “Red Dress”, and my attention was caught by the precise harmonies, the light, joyful feel of the tune, and the diverse instrumentation. Since that day I have waited to hear more from that band. This morning I finally received the album in full, and it has been well worth the wait. Monuments and Statues’ have begun their career with a debut album worthy of any folk fan’s collection. Fractals will be released on February 24, so keep your ears open.
The most remarkable aspect of Monuments and Statues is their use of colourful textures and instrumentation. The band is centred around a duo of female and male vocalists, with delicate harmonies making every phrase appealing. They remind me of Milo Greene, but less moody. The vocals blend peacefully, softly carrying the listener through the record. Whether the vocals come through as low whisper or with a more piercing and powerful delivery, they are deeply captivating.
The complex vocal harmonies sit overtop a background of banjo, guitar, drums, cello, piano, horns, and what sounds like accordion (I’m sure that I’m missing a few instruments that get mixed into the arrangements). These voices offer a lot of drama and diversity to Fractals. The backing layers shift from delicacy and minimalism to evocative unified chord changes that sweep the listener up into the emotion of each track. Their builds are reminiscent of a band like Mumford & Sons, but subtract a little intensity and add a dreamy quality. Rather than increasing volume until they have achieved an adequate level of power, Monuments and Statues uses the intricate entry of new voices to leave a strong impression. The constant motion from ballad to soaring peaks makes Fractals seem to roll from beginning to end.
Fractals is an album that feels unified. The album has a surreal atmosphere, gently guiding the listener on a short journey. Each moment follows logically from the one that came before, which adds a sense of completeness. When Fractals is released next Tuesday, I strongly encourage you to give it a try. I can guarantee that I will be keeping an eye out for whatever Monuments and Statues will cook up next.