Hailing from the country that most of the world is oblivious to, comes Psychedelic Rock/Art Rock act MonkeyRat, and from the midst of the relentless pandemic in its first wave came to us the single track EP “Isolation”. Originally based in Sandur in the Faroe Islands, Anna Iachino was stuck in “isolation” in Iceland in the fall of 2020. One night when felt stranded because she couldn’t contact her husband and musical partner Arnold Ludvig, the words just began to pour out and describe her state of loneliness.
This is the sound of someone who is walking us through forests of depression and disappointment at the state of the world and very calmly speaking the poetry for almost half the 10-minute-track. It was flowing very well and had some minimalist guitar sounds and dissonant synths.
Having newly found this new passion for mixing poetry recitals with electronic synths I thought the track would be fully instrumental up to this point or would be very minimalistic in terms of instrumentation.
Then at one point, I was struck as Anna began to shout some of the lyrics and seamlessly changed the way she was singing her beautiful lyrics from narration and storytelling into someone who is making a statement. Accompanying this change of pace in the song were some beautiful and very nostalgic rock n roll riffs (by guitarist Alain Apaloo) and I was suddenly sucked into this political and social commentary 70’s Rock performance. It’s almost as if you merged the bluesy wailing vocals of Janis Joplin with the angst and sheer power of Black Sabbath.
When the verse ends we are surprised yet again by a chorus of some sort where Anna is exclaiming “What a crazy world” and it’s infectiously catchy. This track was performed before its release at Copenhagen’s Winter Jazz Festival in February and the chorus had the fans going wild, and now I can see firsthand why that happened. The explosive nature of this passage is beautifully complemented by Arnold Ludvig on bass and Jens Stoklund on drums.
I have to give credit where it’s due, the song was recorded live at Soundscape studio in DK, by female award-winning sound engineer, Louise Nipper. The beauty of all the instruments and the balance between them has been well preserved in this track and that is something you can really appreciate as you listen to the rhythm section in the second half of the track.
In the end, the track didn’t feel like 10 minutes at all and I really found myself wanting more of these amazing grooves near the end. The guitar solo near the 8-minute is extremely impressive by Alain Apaloo and what’s really remarkable that it has been all improvised and not written, and later followed by another chorus and at this point, I really wanna hear these guys in concert. In fact, Anna stated about this part as follows; “I had an outline of the song as I conducted our live performance in the studio and directed my band and award winning guitarist when to rock out and give his spectacular solo.”
Anna Iachino is a musical genius and that probably wasn’t enough for her as she was studying to get a master’s degree in music and was not afraid to try this new bombastic 70s rock sound. Her beautiful alto vocals are reminiscent of singers like Annie Lenox and Bonnie Tyler but with a rock twist on it that you will love.
I’m totally sold by this track and I feel like I will be playing it a lot in my car and to my friends and I think if anyone gives it a listen they won’t be able to tell that such a release came out in 2022 and not 1969.