Taking us on a journey through the post Brit-Pop era of dreamy indie-guitar-pop, we have The Koniac Net. Yet we’re not talking Oxford dreamers, London School of Economics posh boys or cheeky chappies from London here.
Oh no. The Koniac Net is the project of Bombay based David Abraham. Actually starting out as a bedroom recording project, Abraham’s One Last Monsoon long play is now performed by a full five piece live band.
The album has the reassuring feel of music with a ‘DIY’ ethos whilst the songs still have enough ambition and confidence to be aiming at the bigger stage.
Opening with a guitar riff which grooves like a certain Lyla, the album comes immediately alive with (It’s Alright) Farewell, vocally it is more dreamy than the opening bars might predict leading to stamping toes and swaying heads. Breaking down into a minimal instrumental over marching drums lends further vibes to the mellow state.
Maggie (A Song For Brad) has a higher tempo, more acoustic, folky feel as it drives in. Whilst this up tempo, slightly lo-fi feel ploughs on, the vocals, again, come in quite mellow, almost holding back. The chilled out mood battles with a rhythm itching to break into something more chaotic.
A theme becomes apparent as a rapid high hat counts in This Time Around, followed by a simple but catchy guitar riff. Both, again, drift down the mix as the vocal starts. The songs aren’t looking for throwaway, catchy hooks and it takes a few listens to get them into your head.
I like the proper DIY feel of Divine Submission’s arrival. Simple, programmed rhythms and acoustic guitar laying out the carpet for an intriguing first verse. A lengthy instrumental break gives space for a sweet sounding electric guitar to slowly introduce a second verse. More like a singer-songwriter such as Tracey Chapman might treat a tune, trusting it’s ‘feel’ and hinting at, yet never revealing, its full story.
Midnight’s Children (h.b.m.) is built on a strummed, over-driven guitar and, at last, a more gravelly vocal. Like Radiohead without the middle class pomposity. Again, the song drifts into mellowdom, One Last Monsoon definitely rocks you up the river before drifting back down again. There’s a Flowered Up vibe at work here for sure.
Some loose cannon style drums are the signature of Demure with almost jazz breaks between vocal lines, this track carries bags of attitude without ever quite releasing it. In contrast to Once, I Ruled Myself immediately releases a dirty guitar and driving beat, the story telling is insistent and has a latter day (Artic) Monkeys effect on the senses. It is one of the few snippets of Asia to sneak into the delivery too. That’s the continent and it’s spiritual and soul finding vibes, not the dismal 80’s AOR super-group, by the way.
A Simple tale follows, Abraham’s subtleties are shown at their best in the space of the soundscape offered up here. The voice and acoustic guitar are truly mesmerising. Avoiding the temptation to add more layers, or press more production buttons, gives this ballad the air to breath.
I never object to reading reviews which use reference points, and therefore am happy to do so myself…. I’ve read other reviews of One Last Monsoon and am amazed to have not seen the words Snow Patrol mentioned. Nowhere do I hear this more than on Bricks. David Abraham, like the enigmatic Lightbody, seems to really ‘hear’ his songs. This gives them an identity and removes the need for repetitive, stamping, choruses.
Whilst Bricks brought Lightbody’s work to mind, it doesn’t sound derivative to the point of plagiarism. Certainly not, particularly as Abraham, when he lets it run, has his very own voice and vocal delivery. It’s more of a compliment than that, though, there are songs on this album which could have seamlessly graced Fallen Empires.
As a body of work, One Last Monsoon has its own name badge, The direction is certainly harping back to indie rock and pop, maybe from the 90’s, but I hear more of a ‘song-writer’ at work. There’s an Americana feel to some of the music, the albums final track, Anesthetic & The Withdrawal, being a case in point.
Whilst I’m playing with references, there’s some lovely Jonny Buckland-esque guitar soundscapes going on whilst the Last Day Of The Miners’ Strike style song is delivered by the Heartbreakers. It’s definitely not all ‘retro-indie’.
Fancy some nonsense, three minute, poppy-indie saturated with obvious and throw away choruses? Look elsewhere then, for this is a crafted body of work, worthy of many a listen. If like me, your taste range includes 70’s prog-rock, 60’s psychedelia, and 90’s inde-classics combined with a constant searching ear for something contemporary and challenging, then stop by The Koniac Net.
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