Mono in VCF
The Voltage Control EP
By Stella Cole
Up-and-coming local band Mono in VCF slink onto the scene with their diminutive first release, a moody four-song concoction tinged with echoes of 80s new wave and ethereal Brit-rock.
Weighing in at just 16:29, The Voltage Control EP is short on evolution and long on atmosphere, weaving a journey that could just as easily pass for one long song with a key change here and there. Basically, it goes nowhere fast, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. If you’re a fan of Echo and the Bunnymen or old old-school U2 and in the mood to brood, you will be satisfied.
The warmly aloof vocals belong to one Charles Perales, mysteriously crooning with a rich tonal quality that forgives the lack of range you keep hoping he’ll bust out of with great Bono aplomb. Still, he spins out into the space left open by the un-dynamic drone of the songs with a sexy but apathetic confidence that invites you in like the old boyfriend you know is too cool for you. The rhythm section is steady and dependable, and the guitars only offer standout moments once or twice, mostly providing subtle driving layers on which to house the vocals and keys.
Anytime a band ambitiously tackles the tasks of recording/mixing/producing themselves, the results can be mixed, which is what you get here, with off balance keyboards lying heavy like wet covers over smoldering bass lines that tend to get buried in the thin mix. But it’s not easy (and damn near impossible) for an unsigned band to create magic in the studio when resources and funds are limited, and for that, these Tacoma lads deserve much glory – they have mastered the art of accentuating their best assets while keeping it simple, managing to state their name for the record and keep us listeners attentive for the next release. – (6/10)