An argument between singer Ríona Sally and songwriter Mick Stuart about whether a singer-songwriter could do someone else’s song justice lead to the formation of alternative-pop outfit Monster Monster, who released their debut offering late in 2015. ‘The City’s Ours’ is only four tracks long, but it serves to show just what the pair are all about.
The EP opens with the titular The City’s Ours. Beautifully reverberated lead guitar work and the powerful vocal of Sally lead into a track full of vibrance. The accompanying instrumentation is a particular highlight of the song, with the rhythm section especially being prominent. The synth-driven bass line that kicks in after the first chorus stands out while some interestingly used siren effects meld surprisingly well into the fray.
However, the rest of the EP loses the momentum that was built in the opening track and instead opts for slower tracks that are difficult to differentiate between. Assassin is a slow, jazzy song lead by the sultry crooning of Sally, making the kind of music that you might hear played live in a restaurant on a Friday evening.
You’re My Fix fares slightly better, with Sally’s vocals being utterly enticing and at their best throughout. Apart from that though, there’s very little in the song that stands out in any way, which is disappointing because it has the potential to be far better with the addition of something like an extra instrument or an interesting key change to give it a bit more character.
The EP closes on At Your Door, a track that’s laden with intricate guitar work and percussion that increases the urgency as the love story that’s told during the EP comes to an end. The last 40 seconds are intense, but the issue is again that there’s nothing to elevate it from being average to being better.
‘The City’s Ours’ has lots of positives, mainly the sheer quality of Sally’s vocals and the band’s ability to build intensity around her. The main problem is that the title track gathers a whole heap of momentum, and after it ends, you expect more of the same to follow. When it doesn’t, the remaining tracks just feel bland in comparison. While the big vocals will sound incredible in a live setting when the intensity can be truly felt, it unfortunately doesn’t translate well onto a record.