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coverpic flag Norway - Full Moon 66 - 02/27/02

Monopot
Optipess
Smalltown Supersound

The second go from this quiet, slow-floating Bergen outfit, who blew a lot of us away with their stunning debut Something is Like Nothing was 2 1/2 years back. They amazed critics worlwide, and was even (surprisingly, but well deserved, I'd say) nominated for a Norwegian Grammy. Anyway, they didn't get it (not surprising). But they should've.

I've been waiting for this one with excitement. Because the last time I saw Monopot play live (at Blå, a year ago) I wasn't too convinced. Now it seems they've found an even more low-toned, introvert track, and at first I tend to feel a bit...bored. No, sleepy. The instrumental "Diamant" (Diamond) opens quite OK, and takes us to the spheres Monopot roam. Next song "Aloft" is more like the Sometimes is... stuff. One of their really fascinating, moody moments. "Bomb of Bliss" is delicate, and sounds like a jelly-mud-crawl. Like a slow pop single run on 33 rpm. But. The oh-so-slow feels a bit too much to handle throughout a full album, even though there are some very nice moments. The funniest piece is "Sebastian", an almost translucent 'adaption' of Steve Harley's 70s hit. Excellent. "The Arc and the Beagle" is another track giving you the strong feeling of some slow-mo, weightless flight. And everything is like a motion picture with extremely few frames per second. Monopot tread on thin ice while the surface below their feet slowly starts cracking, but due to their light-toed music, they somehow manage to keep the ice intact. But, as I've mentioned I get this strong urge for finding a bed. They sound like, uh, an unplugged Mogwai on Prozac.

Optipess is a fitting title for this album (well, for Monopot's music in general): the sound of optimistic pessimism. Sadness and deep tristesse, but not without glimpses of blue skies and discreet smiles. Nevertheless, this album is way behind their debut album. Sad but true.

Copyright © 2002 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Monopot articles/reviews: So What!, Oslo, 23.03.2000, Something is Like Nothing was, Taran EP.

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