Songs to take you on an emotional journey

By - Monday 14th January, 2013

Fiona Stewart shines a light on some homegrown talent, and explains why you should be just as interested in them as she is

Croydon’s own acoustic folk-duo, Monitor Sound

I’ve had an on/off love affair with music over the years, and with almost all genres of music being my passion at one time or another. There was pop in the ’70s (Donna Summer’s I Feel Love was the first single I ever bought), rock in the ’80s (particularly Van Halen when it was fronted by David Lee Roth, who was my bedroom pin-up), and then a bit more mainstream stuff in the ’90s (Madonna, Michael Jackson). This century, I’ve dabbled in House music (particularly Little Louis Vega and Hed Kandi), and have even rekindled my love affair with rock having discovered Soundgarden and their incredibly talented lead singer/songwriter Chris Cornell, who posesses the breathy, baritone voice of a rock god and an angel put together. However, I can honestly say that I’ve never really felt inclined to delve into the “folk” genre until I stumbled across local duo, Monitor Sound.

I feel wistful when I listen to their songs, like a long-forgotten sadness remembered. Chris’s vocals hit me with an authenticity and candour which is completely intentional. Whether they’re singing a live acoustic set, or if I’m listening to their recordings, I find myself fighting with my emotions as the lyrics catch me unawares. Before I know it, I’m swallowing back the tears (in a good way!). I’m not sure any kind of music has had that effect on me so much before. That’s not to say I haven’t felt emotional when listening to music – it’s precisely because music has an emotional effect on us as humans that it’s so powerful. I’m saying I’ve never known music to have taken me on such a powerful journey within my own feelings before.

The duo, comprised of local musicians Chris Matthews and Matt Edkins, compose their original music in Chris’ flat and have been playing as Monitor Sound for just over a year now. However, their music betrays a depth greater than one would expect for such a young group, and when listening it feels like they’ve been together a lot longer. They’re refreshingly humble guys, yet confident in what they’re doing, and that translates into a truly heartfelt performance when you experience them live. Their lyrics speak the language of friendships, fallings out, sadness, and smiles in a modest way, yet they’re sung with the depth of someone who has experienced personal sadness and regret.  This, together with their beautiful melodies, gives their performance a great emotional impact.

I’ve seen them live several times now, and I feel the same every time they play. Now I go to as many of their live gigs as I can manage, taking me to that special place only their music and lyrics can. Their next live gig will be at the Dublin Castle in Camden, on Thursday 17 January 2013 and this will be your last chance to see them live for a while as they concentrate on finishing and releasing their first album, the aptly named ‘The Flat Sessions’. I highly recommend that you give them a listen, and I may even see you at their next live show!

Fiona Stewart

Following nearly 20 years in “corporate” life, I got off the hamster wheel. I loved it, worked with amazing people, and learnt a bucket load. Now it’s time to give some of that back to people I know starting up and running their own businesses who need help getting customers. My marketing expertise was learnt in the travel industry (British Airways and Kuoni) – the principles, though, are the same, whatever business you are in. Attract, get and keep great customers! I’m a mum of 2 young boys and I live in Surrey. My friends are an eclectic mix of amazing, talented and really groovy people who I love and admire. I love rock music (a recently rekindled love affair from earlier in my life) and I love good food and even try to make some of it on occasion for friends. They seem to like it! I’m thinking of writing a book….it will happen, just not sure when!

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