Inspired by artists like Portishead, Stone Roses, Erik Satie and even Chopin, US-based group Monroe Moon turns synth-pop on its head with a kick of post-punk and indie-rock. Brought together by a mutual passion for music and “fate”, Bunny Monroe (vocals and keys), Theo Malkin (guitar), Justin Johnson (bass), Tom Strother (drums) and Austin Ruhstorfer (synths and production) are breaking boundaries with their unique sound. The latest addition to their repertoire is the single ‘Greener’.
Releasing music since 2018 (or at least on Spotify), Monroe Moon has moved from a pop-rock meets jazz sound to a synth-based soundscape with pop undertones. One element that has remained constant in Monroe Moon’s music, other than the skilled instrumentation and moving vocals, is the depth and intimacy of their material. Innovative as artists, it is in ‘Greener’ that the group demonstrate their ability to create an atmospheric ambience while maintaining poignant lyrical content.
Described as an “Ian Curtis-inspired love song”, ‘Greener’ has an intense hushed quality to it. As a fan of Ian Curtis, I was intrigued by the description and was eager to hear Joy Division-esque music; however, this is not the case. Instead of using pounding drums and distorted guitars, ‘Greener’ has a soothing sweetness in the melody. Instead of leaning toward the typical 1970s post-punk, Monroe Moon has held onto the underlying emotion and meaning of Ian Curtis’s lyrics making this new single far more heart-wrenching.
Recorded at River City Studios in Grand Rapids, ‘Greener’ touches on love, hopefulness and freedom but with a touch of melancholic nostalgia. The harmonic intertwining of Bunny’s rich vocals and hushed instrumentation gives off an ethereal sound but has a comforting robustness. For me, it is the simplicity of the track that makes it soul-stirring and heartfelt. With their new single, Monroe Moon presents themselves as a breath of fresh air on the independent music scene.