From Friends of the Friends of the Monday Table
When UK duo Friends of the Monday Table introduced themselves to the world with a 10 minute long single, it was clear to identify them as an ambitious new voice from the UK's underground scene. Now, with the release of their first project, this should be understood as an incredibly promising statement of where the group is headed, and the extent of their potential.
The EP unfurls with a quotation of Patti Smith on opener 'The First Sleep and the First Dream.' Delivered in a spoken word fashion reminiscent of King Gizzard et al's Murder of the Universe, though the recording of Lloyd Bolton's reading might arrive sounding a little absent of low-end presence, the accumulation of ambient electronics in the background proves fantastic. It swells and disengages in these great cycles of sound, like Brian Eno turned up to breakneck speed. It pulses with a clear understanding of how to make ambient-adjacent music sound truly compelling, and while the high pitches of its closing moments do fly a little too close to the sun in their ear-splitting frequencies, this is exactly how I want independent EP's to kick into gear.
That Odyssean 10 minute single 'Emily's Imaginary Scales' finds itself returning, though now sandwiched between 'The First Sleep...' and another new release. It remains, however, the EP's true focus. Friends of the Monday Table are truly at their best as this single meanders between soft chords and recollections of Jacques Cousteau. It builds with a synth bass tone surprisingly evocative of The 1975's debut, tethering itself perfectly to inch-perfect drum machine beats that fade in and out of focus. It's a real achievement of ambitious scale, and still stands out as the group at their most exciting best.
That's not to say that the EP ends weakly, as this is certainly not the case. Closer 'Lighthouse' is Friends of the Monday Table in a more accessible light, and should definitely present itself as an excellent introduction to this band - perhaps before the more herculean length of their best composition. 'Lighthouse' pushes into an escalating intensity as the duo implement a far more active beat. It can only be a compliment to say that its the kind of thing Björk would want to sing on top of. Its energetic, imaginative and ends the project on a high note where I immediately need to hear more. Hopefully the wait for more music from this band will not be a long one, but in the mean time this stands out as an exceptional first step, and the mark of a duo with high potential.
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Thanks for reading! Slow Motion Panic Masters is a music, arts and culture website created and edited by Ben Wheadon, a literature student based at the University of Oxford. He is also a Fleet Foxes shill.
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