Review: Monday Morning Sun – The Usual Mile

 There are dark records and then there are records featuring London-based musician Umair Chaudry, who seems to be hell-bent on creating a one-stop shop for the glummest releases of this Millenium. Whilst his solo assignment, Abandon, balanced the blackness with an air of elegance, Monday Morning Sun gives Chaudry an outlet with which to share his bleak vision with vocalist/bassist Marco Ruggiero. They certainly hammer home the message too.

At first, ‘Bad Bones’ seems to signify a playful, experimental heart. Snatches of film dialogue, African rhythms and digitised vocals all dovetail in to a rhythmic, entertaining opener. One thing hasn’t changed from Chaudry’s Abandon project though; ‘Bad Bones’ alone lasts for an energy-sapping ten minutes. However, it turns out to be the lightest moment of the record.

‘Blind Leading The Blind’ doesn’t really build from its wah-wah guitar beginning in to anything more than a grim post-punk throwback whereas ‘Never Put A Foot Wrong’ comes close to emulating the atmosphere of Joy Division, or at the very least a credible A Certain Ratio. ‘Smoke And Mirrors’ is better still as it finds the hitherto undiscovered middle ground between Bauhaus and Spiritualized. Yet, as on the Abandon record, Chaudry saves his powerful statement of intent to last, courtesy of the pummelling beats and doom-ridden aura of ‘Questions’.

The overtly aggressive, masculine nature of the record means that melody is not high on the agenda. As a result, the album is only recommended for those who avidly collect the more obscure releases from the early days of Factory Records.

Web Sites:
Monday Morning Sun MySpace
Blindsight Records Home Page

Further Listening:
A Certain Ratio, Crispy Ambulance, Abandon

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