With a well deserved momentum building up this year, Los Angeles dream-pop locals, Mind Monogram, return with a sophomore EP, Maüs, to follow up their 2015 debut EP, Moments in Time, and invite listeners to a personal and exploratory approach this time around.
Edgar A. Ruiz (Vocalist/Guitarist), Christian Caro (Guitar), Bryan Mejia (Drums) and Richard Delgado (Bass) successfully follow-up their last release and continue to push themselves sonically through detail orientated riffs, craft, and of course, intricate story lines. While Moments in Time held exactly that, snapshots of life saved into music notes, the last EP was confined to their one assigned state of time. As beautiful as Moments in Time was, the true artistry is to grow with each installment, musically and individually.
Maüs, ironically, carries freedom in the form of what may weigh a human down, such as fear, insane and dogmatic questioning , temptation and addiction, and lastly self-esteem issues. Each abstract feeling is characterized within the 5 tracks, noting a more personal approach than Moments in Time. Despite the notable gradual approach to stray away from narrative based themes, Mind Monogram’s natural talent is with story-telling, and Maüs is a perfect example of the balance between music and tales.
Opening the album, we are welcomed to a dream-state of mind with “Maüs.” Hazy, ethereal sounds, introduces the star, Maüs, hero or foe, only disclosing that vultures are waiting for him, a well executed set-up for the EP. With slight sympathy towards the fate of Maüs, the next track “Between the Lines” explodes from the start, becoming one of the stronger, and more fast-paced tracks on the EP. Nothing is held back from each member, and Ruiz’s vocals rise in angst against tight, rapid drumming, and psychedelic guitar riffs. Each build becomes stronger than the previous and propels into a torpedo of sonic swirls and maniacal lines: “And to my own surprise, I see / That you will never be free / And now, your mind belongs to me / And when I choose I’ll set you free.”
Continuing their minimalist approach, similar to “Maüs,” the instrumental and vocal driven track “Howls” consumes a listener’s attention for it’s musical construction and delivery. Of course, the EP includes the single “Weeping Willow” and continues the reflective narrative with dreamy escapades.
Despite the EP’s alternative rock approach, a track that stands out for it’s pop feel would be “Friend.” At first listen, this wasn’t a personal favorite, yet as a whole, “Friend” and its placement acts as a refreshing break, and diverse stance for the band’s ability. As upbeat as the track is, it’s deceitful. Upon reading the lyrics, temptation and addiction come into play as the jingle sings about a “friend” and falls from it’s initial greeting as “Good Morning” to an eerie “Good Mouring.”
Wrapping up the end of the EP, a bit of rhythmic Latin sounds emerge as a hidden track, featuring Gary Bramlett of Furcast. Tied with a clear visual representation of their sound, artwork done by local Pomona artist Melissa Reyna, Maüs is a well-designed EP in all of its’ elements, as Mind Monogram begins to break out of their shell.
Note: Line-up change occurred after the release of Maus, and we have kept Delgado’s name for the sake of credit.