These days, it’s incredibly refreshing to hear a different kind of arrangement in the single format.
Malicious Monotony is remarkable, therefore, in more ways than one. For a start, it features the words ‘malicious’ and ‘monotony’. Not only are they present, they’re in the title – not lyrics that regularly occur in pop. And then, somewhat perversely, the natural scansion and pronunciation that one would associate with these words is brushed aside in favour of the melody, which squirms along in a serpentine manner that is a little unsettling, but in a restless and good way. Reminiscent of Imogen Heap, perhaps. And has the effect of creating more focus on the unusual words: a very clever device.
And then we get ‘circus’ rhyming with ‘purpose’. These choices are unusual, and this song has been carefully considered. It appears to be a meditation on modern life’s patterns and priorities, and the unseen characters and pressures lurking behind society’s routines.
Then, more incredibly, we get an extended instrumental period (lasting almost a minute) after the first chorus, which has ghostly, treated whisperings and a lot of space to listen. Featuring a pretty clinical backdrop of water-drop synths, marimba-esque simulations, keyboard guitar, percussive taps and string strums, I found that my attention was drawn to the dramatically-presented, excellent chord choices and structure.
From there we go into a broken down verse, building into final choruses and then into another rare event – a carefully-constructed slowing down of tempo to round the song off.
And like a clockwork ballerina winding down to a stop, Malicious Monotony proves it is anything but. Well, it may be malicious, but it’s chock-full of imagination and interesting, brave choices.