I have great respect and admiration towards Monica Richards and her awesome work in the underground scene. She is very talented: singer, composer, writer, graphic designer and illustrator. Monica has earned a true iconic status in the underground scene. I discovered her music in the mid 90’s with Faith And The Muse, sometime later I was captivated by the beautiful music of Strange Boutique (previous to Faith And The Muse) And thanks to the internet I discovered the music of Madhouse, one of her first bands.
Madhouse (founded in 1985) was a vintage Dark Punk band; with influences of English Punk (Mainly, the early Siouxsie And The Banshees) blended with some sophisticated chords of Post Punk, and early Gothic music. The single “Mecca” Is especially interesting, and somehow it is some kind of augury regarding to the future development of Monica Richards as an artist: Influences from oriental music in “Mecca”, and a beautiful – almost ethereal song called “So Sad”. Since those early days, the teenager Monica Richards was in charge of the lead vocals and she made the artwork for the self titled album of the band.
An now she has this third solo album called “Kindred” which is such a balanced record, pretty consistent track by track and it has a wide variety of sounds and music styles. With her pretty impressive music career, the quality in this release is plenty warranted. “Kindred” is ominous and solemn in its orchestration, combined with strong rhythm crated with some big percussion, and the voice flows creating a cinematic mood. “Under The Bridge” is pretty atmospheric with tribal sounds, and syntetized rhythms; trance inducing sound here.
In “Fall” the energy flows in a pretty smooth way. The machine rhythm and the synths open the path to those rhythmic bass lines, and the non-stop dynamic melody. This song has great energy, and it emerges as a great potential single. “Undulatus Esperatus” has a sumptuous introduction with keyboards, and the rhythm machine enter with soft and silky sound. The song gets stronger and has some neo classical feeling; is so pretty well constructed, and is executed with great passion and loftiness. Brilliant track! “Te Bird And The Snake” is dark and exotic, this one sounds pretty interesting. “Speak” is quite romantic and is like black velvet; soft and elegant. “50 Euro Boy” has great rhythm and a unique sound.
After “Penelope” (A short piano intro) “Let You Go” flows with gloomy nostalgia and lost romance. “Lalala Song” is quite notorious; it has contagious machine drum rhythm, catchy melody, and a background orchestration. “Gil’s Theme” has a crushing electronic rhythm and instrumentation, and it vanishes in the dark towards the end. “Sparks” is a huge transformation of the classic song made by Faith And The Muse. This one is very atmospheric, and is slow-tempo with electronic sound, really interesting. “The Enchanted Mirrors” is the final track and is exotic, majestic, and dark, with entrancing oriental sound mixed with electronic instrumentation.
The style of those Gothic-Wave bands from the 90’s, which made this kind of music that could be like a crossing between Gothic music and Ethereal sound; like Requiem In White, The Shroud, This Ascension, and of course: Faith And The Muse, is still around here with artists such as The Eden House (BTW: Monica appears in the single “Bad Men” of their new album) and Place4Tears. I’m very impressed with this album; this is one of her finest works, and my favorite female solo album of 2013. ► by Daniel Olvera