Boomkat Product Review:
C.A.N.V.A.S. co-founder Olan Monk reanimates gothy DIY electro-pop on 'Auto Life', sounding like John Foxx with a fresh coat of paint from Jam City. Pop music for melancholy freaks - we love it.
Musing on the absurdity of fame, performance, recording and stardom, Monk has assembled an EP that feels entirely grounded in the modern age. In 2021, the art of production is democratized reality but performance has become more complex, so Monk laments the death - literal and figurative - of young stars and drives thru bleak glam backdrops as the rain beats down outside. 'Auto Life' is a melancholy collection, struck thru with the lavish flash of Visage and the chunky leftward-punk oddness of Suicide, but grounded in expression, not nostalgia.
The muted crowd noise on lead single 'Fameless' - used like canned laughter in a sitcom - illustrates Monk's vision perfectly. Wobbly synths and crashing, overdriven drums echo over the top, accompanying the main event - Monk's raw, insightful vocals. "Life is full of questions, you don't need to answer them," they moan. "Where you gonna be in three year's time." 'Black Tulip' sizzles with the attitude of Joy Division or early New Order, fired into a Drexciyan electro k-hole.
Our favorite moment is a gruesomely visceral collaboration with Elvin Brandhi and Jam City that excavates the connective tissue between Jam City's latter day glam rawk swagger, Brandhi's scorched earth sound art deconstructions and Monk's slinky, knowing songwriting. Brandhi's mangled voice chatters and squeals, pneumatic kicks pound, euphoric pads gasp for air - this is the future we were promised, right?