Robbie & Mona
Bristol duo share new track ‘Queen Celine’
Debut album EW due 29th January via Spinny Nights
Robbie & Mona share new single ‘Queen Cleline’, the latest fragment of debut album EW, set to be released 29th January via Spinny Nights (Norman, Lynks, Park Motive).
Mona explains the song: “Celine is a character that pops up in my short stories and imaginings a lot. She kind of represents all things surreal for me. The vocals for this song just spilled out after a day of losing my marbles and finding them again.”
‘Queen Celine’ embodies this character perfectly, its fragmented, glitchy electronics bouncing alongside Mona’s drifting, mesmeric vocals. Treading the line between dream and nightmare, ‘Queen Celine‘ packs more into its short run time than most artists manage in an album.
“This song was written following an amalgamation of loads of electronic things breaking, including the synth that I usually write on,” Robbie says of the writing process. “I was upset and frustrated, and the guitar riff just went from there.”
This harsh glitching intensity burns from the off-set, clear in the first few notes of Queen Celine, before Robbie & Mona isolate their rich rhythms and slowly fold in these dramatic surges of destruction. Layered vocals hypnotize but the freedom of the experimental tendencies exude this defiance and in turn provide addictive qualities of a standout track. At just over 1 minute 26 seconds, Robbie & Mona manage to create a soundscape with substance, merging their sound manipulation to new depths for something so impressive and powerful.
‘Queen Celine’‘s video was directed by Max McLachlan, who mirrors the track’s dark yet playful atmosphere perfect. McLachlan explains: “The video spawned from, for lack of a better word, hearing the bounce in the rhythm of the music that was contrasted by this feeling of dread. Just as the song itself was written through things breaking, it seemed fitting that the video should be tearing itself apart at the seams. I wanted it to feel like a glitch in the matrix or a rip between two worlds trying to repel one another like magnets. But mainly I knew it would be fun to make a sort of Man Ray photo but with lots more mini-trampolines.”
Robbie & Mona is couple-duet, William Carkeet and Eleanor Gray, who have found a surreal creative outlet making their scrap-book glitch pop with each other. They craft erratic and psychedelic dream-pop which subverts the indistinct haze that often plagues the genre.
The project began with William offering to produce Eleanor’s second solo album, which quickly transcended into the beginning of Robbie & Mona. The majority of EW was recorded in the cellar underneath Bristol’s most legendary independent venue, The Louisiana, with additional recordings made in their bedroom.
EW experiments fearlessly with sonic textures and song structures, and yet the songs can still carry the emotional weight of a Magic Radio ballad. While the overall vibe of the record takes many cues from dream pop and lo-fi indie, nothing is certain on first listen. EW expertly toes the line between deep emotional resonance and alienating disarray.
Each instrument takes on multiple personalities throughout the album, bringing harmony in some places, tearing it apart in others. Synthesisers can roar and woosh around tempered programmed drums, or crackle and gurle amid tender pop hooks. Brass instruments can create a searingly sweet climax or a sleazy comedown from a glitchy frenzy. Guitars are used sparingly, only entering the equation when essential.
Both Robbie & Mona are members of Bristol’s emo-indie collective, Pet Shimmers, most recently back from supporting Alex G on his UK/EU tour. EW sees them tear around their self made studio like kids in a candy shop, taking full advantage of their freedom from a traditional band structure. More influenced by film than music, pictures such as Daisies by Vera Chytilova, Blue Velvet by David Lynch and La Dolce Vita by Federico Fellini all play an influencing role on their music.
Taking a more theatrical and minimalist approach to their live shows, Robbie & Mona focus heavily on visuals and atmosphere, rather than performing the songs with complete accuracy. Some sets have been pre recorded and played on vintage video equipment on stage, with the band watching amongst the crowd.
A small cohort of cherry picked live outings have led to multi-media shows with the likes of Sean Nicholas Savage, Holy Drug Couple, Purple Pilgrims and Oro Swimming Hour.
EW is out 29th January via Spinny Nights.
Pre-order here – https://robbieandmona.bandcamp.com/album/ew
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