With the addition of vocalist Lesley Pond, Raleigh's Monoslang slides from pop-structured post-rock into trip-hop territory. Though both are indeed emotionally loaded, atmospheric styles, they've rarely overlapped in the past. Though Monoslang lacks the depth or complexity of the most eminent bands in either field, this EP nonetheless suggests an interesting intersection of the two.
With chirruping instrumental melodies, Radiohead-informed drum lines and sultry yet defiant vocals, these 12 minutes truss romantic idealism and rollicking sparkle, coming off with as much Morcheeba as Maserati—and yes, some early Muse, too. Matt Morford matches Pond's vocal runs by multiplying his guitar signal with delay and fuzz, a time-tested post-rock technique used to make one guitar sound like 20. His playing and her vocals exist in a sort of conversational counterpoint; each instrument is lyrical and expressive. With its multiple climaxes and grandiose down-tempo plod, "Ragdoll" ends on dramatic howls. "My heart won't break/ Not the same way," Pond sings.
Closer "Methlab" buries indistinct radio transmissions beneath an idiosyncratic song structure. The song's final seconds afford the most exciting and unhinged moment of this EP. As Pond belts "Don't you bring me down," Morford abandons his guitar melody entirely, ricocheting into a flurry of feedback and noise before the song ends unresolved. Such an elliptical close fits here. With a new vocalist, a new sound and a new feel, Monoslang's future is intriguingly open.