Belarus trio Molchat Doma’s 2018 album Этажи was deeply ahead of its time, signified by the fact that it has only recently started gaining traction in the UK (thanks, in part, to Tik Tok – but let’s not go there). Nevertheless, the album solidified the band as one of the greatest current post-punk outfits on the planet and Monument only goes to further that claim.
Whilst I adore the band’s previous work, I would have liked to see more evolution in sound between their last album and Monument. It follows very similar themes and sounds – a positive given how great their signature sound is, however I feel as though the sound is in danger of becoming somewhat stale if they continue down this path for multiple future albums. For now, though, Molchat Doma still sound incredible, and refreshingly different to the vast majority of other popular ‘post-punk’ acts at the moment (a lot of whom are beginning to sound identical, leading me to worry that post-punk will become the next ‘indie rock’).
The album kicks off with Cold War style nightclub banger ‘Utonut’ and doesn’t really lift off after that point, continuing the 80s style synth, reminiscent of New Order, early Depeche Mode, or Telex, on tracks such as ‘Discoteque’ and ‘Ne Smeshno’. The standout track, for me, is ‘Otveta Net’. The dark, booming voice of vocalist Egor Shkutko compliments the retro drum beat and Roman Komogortsev’s whining guitar tones beautifully to create what, I think, will come to be one of Molchat Doma’s defining tracks.
Written entirely in quarantine, Monument embraces the darkness and despair, but doesn’t wallow in the sadness like many others. Instead, the album is a kind of gothic snyth-pop dance party, which fits the mood of lockdown pretty well. It is perhaps one of the few albums that would work equally well at a house party, or a 2:00am bout of deep melancholy. As Shukuto claims in ‘Discoteque’: “I will continue to dance”. That lyric, in my eyes, is a fitting signifier for the entire album – continuing to dance through the misery of life in 2020. Truthfully, this album could not have come out at a better time. Deep into the second lockdown, everybody is feeling helpless and tired; we all need the moody tones of three Belarusian men to help us forget about our troubles and cry-dance alone in our bedrooms to industrial, cold wave, post-punk synths.
Header image: Molchat Doma. Credit: Molchat Doma Official Website, ‘About’.