Published Nov 06, 2015Though a few years removed from baroque rock's most recent renaissance, Matt Monoogian has kept the fire burning after recruiting a roster of string and horn players for his debut record. On H I D E, Monoogian translates his personal experiences with addiction and illness into a series of tunes that range from elegiac rock to stomping, upbeat folk.
Monoogian has been active in Guelph's music scene for years, contributing to bands such as Lowlands and Alanna Gurr & The Greatest State, and uses his first solo venture to begin establishing himself as a composer of heartfelt, atmospheric folk rock with lofty ambitions. The album's centrepiece, "Set Sail," functions as an effective thesis statement, with lyrics about trying to move on from a torrid past, sonically lifted after the bridge thanks to emotive strings.
However, the record often relies too much on its expansive instrumental palette to set it apart from others, reaching soaring, triumphant heights when featuring its guests, but lulling without them. Though the opening songs fluctuate in mood, H I D E runs out of steam near the end as the final songs stay firmly rooted in moody folk.
A debut with potent hints of promise, H I D E finds Monoogian taking his first slow but sure steps into the spotlight. (Independent)