"Petrichor (Acoustic)" by Monday Nights
Following in the impressive footsteps of Ivy Ash, Monday Nights have today released an acoustically reimagined version of their most recent single (reviewed last month) & so you can now enjoy "Petrichor (Acoustic)".
As with Ivy's acoustic versions, it's impossible for me to pass judgement on whether the full or stripped back arrangements is objectively "better" nor whether either presents a definitive reading of the core song. To me, by offering us two different readings, we are invited to view "Petrichor" from complementary perspectives and thus appreciate it more deeply.
To be honest, the original recording hinted at the potential for this sort of variant: it's a beautiful song in the first place and its essential qualities are based around those elements common to both versions: the melody, feel and lyrics. In fact, looking back at my original review, I doubt that I should have varied my wording too much had I had this arrangement to mull over first.
Written of course still by Ali Hutton and Jacob Palmer and produced by Ali, this time round we also need to congratulate Hannah Kent for the piano arrangement and Alixe Wilmshurst for the lead guitar arrangement, each of which plays a very significant role in the new take.
What you get is pretty ethereal in sound: to me it certainly evoked crisp, if cold December mornings in the quiet of the English countryside (or possibly a deserted beach with Christmas sun breaking through a sea mist), possibly a little way from the title's source as "a pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm dry weather", yet if not exactly a contrast, maybe a seasonal complement to that. Let's see what it says to you…….
"Petrichor" by Monday Nights
You will I'm sure be aware of the debut single from Monday Nights, "Flight" which also appears on ‘Hot Music Live Presents Volume Five'. They have now released its follow-up "Petrichor", which is out today.
If, as I am, you are unfamiliar with the title of the song, I'm advised that it refers to "a pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm dry weather": a useful word to know & for that alone I am grateful to them.
When I first interviewed them for the magazine just under a year ago, they expressed hopes for releases in early 2021: understandably that didn't come quite to pass, but the wait has been worth it: the quality of the song trumps the delay in importance & it's much better to ensure that it was made under the best possible conditions in order to burnish their growing reputation in its relative early stages. This is played with taste & restraint as well as talent, with passionate and articulate vocals: even better than that, it possesses heart.
An upbeat number, it's expressed desire to "soar" links it to its predecessor as does the upwardly aspirational feel to it. Monday Nights have only released two songs in their nascent career but each is so well crafted and uplifting that the outlook for their career in most encouraging: great songs which touch hearts & leave you feeling better at the end than you did before hearing them deserve big audiences.
Talking of which, Monday Nights have recently re-emerged back onto the live scene, getting out of both lockdown and their home base in Rugby: it's great to see them getting gigs now in Leamington as well as the good news about their talent spreads.
The single's name will attract attention (never a bad idea) but that is merely the starting point: once you've heard it, the real impact will happen and I look forward to catching them and reviewing them live: a whole set of such material would be most impressive.
Introducing Monday Nights
I wonder if you recollect Paul Englefield's review of The Empire at the Zephyr Lounge back in February 2016? Well two of that band are now in Rugby based Monday Nights and during the current circumstances still managed to put out their debut single "Flight": it's a shame that this did not necessarily get the attention it deserved (live performance & promotion being not possible) as it is a very imaginative & touching song: at least I hope that this feature can do something to steer your attention to this new group. When you hear "Flight", you'll hopefully be as struck as I was by its gentle & evocative nature, bolstered by somewhat unusual (and tastefully played) instrumentation which is nevertheless arranged with restraint so as to let the delicacy & honesty of the vocals predominate. A heartfelt & earnest tune, it reminded me a little of "Hot Music Live Presents" artists Man Made Moon (in both tone & theme). The band tell me that they have many other songs already written (but are finding recording them currently something of a challenge) so I have yet to learn whether "Flight" is representative of their music generally or just one of a number of styles they play. It will be enjoyable finding this out, whether via releases or live gigs or preferably of course both.
My appetite whetted by "Flight", I contacted Monday Nights from a safe distance to find out a bit more about them for my own, & I trust your, benefit.
"Hello there, we are Monday Nights from Rugby, Warwickshire. Fronted by singer Jacob Palmer who plays a mixture of dulcimer/homemade ukuleles. The bassist is Ellis Pullinger and the drummer Ali Hutton, and for the moment we are currently blessed with Ellis's brother Henry on guitar, doing a marvellous job. Our influences are a mix of alt rock and folk roots. We try to keep alive ethereal highs from musicians like Jeff Buckley and Nothing But Thieves, while also telling stories and trying to stay lyrically creative in our songs the way bands like The Oh Hellos or Little Comets do. Ellis and Jacob have always had strong links to Muse and their classical influence on writing style, since they used to be in another band together. From a production point of view, we enjoy the way The Wombats/Muse mix traditional instruments with samples and synths."
Have you got any releases planned?
"We do have plans for more singles across the start of the next year, and potentially an EP. Stay tuned for January or February."
Have you got any live gigs in mind (allowing for COVID19 of course)?
"We did a live stream show as part of a festival at the Benn Hall in Rugby in July which was bizarre. As for coming up stuff we have a couple festivals planned in June such as the 'Rugby Rocks Festival'. We are constantly planning and trying to book things sooner as we've been doing all year, however, we are also frustrated DIY addicts so always planning our own live streams or things to do more quickly. We actually have just done a Facebook gig on the 19th December which showcases some of our new songs, and that will stay up on Facebook for you all to enjoy."
(Check this out at https://www.facebook.com/104013111139091/videos/317709952671897)
Do you feel optimistic or pessimistic about the local music scene post-COVID19?
"Long story short, of course optimistic! The politics and logistics are extremely complex to get an event where hundreds or thousands of people are shouting the words out in a small room. Of course even after the vaccine a lot of the venues and pubs that give bands a leg up are struggling or closed. Nevertheless everyone will do what they can to keep going and stay positive, I know our band is."
Are there any local artists you'd recommend to "Hot Music Live" readers?
"That's tough, we support a lot of local bands we know and are friends with many, and have been in different bands ourselves. However, not too sure where most of them have ended up during this pandemic. We'd have to say our friends Anomaly as we've supported them a few times when this band started performing live and they've released some cracking material. "
If you had the chance to collaborate with any other (living) musician(s), who would you pick?
"That's interesting because we have recently been asking around people to have a collaboration with some of the songs we've been writing. We've been planning to record with a local folk/alternative singer called Ellie Gowers for a bit because we think her sound would work nice with some of our stuff. As for more successful people we'd have to give it more thought due to being in the bubble, quite focused on making our new music recently.
And thanks so much for having a look at "Flight", we appreciate all the feedback and support from you guys deeply! "