New Song of the Week: MONZA EXPRESS – “In the City”

Monza Express In The City

Monza Express are a five-piece guitar band from Aberdeen, Scotland who formed in 2017 from the ashes of several other bands. As they humorously state in their bio, they’re “all the wrong side of 30 [and] no strangers to live music, having played in various bands in Aberdeen over the years.” Drawing on influences from a variety of sources depending on which member you speak to, the band includes Fraser Bateman (lead vocals & rhythm guitar), “Mr Glass” Shaun Reid (lead guitar), Greg “Mercury” Burgess (bass), Kris Fraser (keyboards, backing vocals) and David “Deco” Smith (drums). (I love that ‘Fraser’ is the first name of one member and last name of another.)

Following up on their 2018 double-single release “Sunshine/Big Dumb Rock” – both terrific songs that I urge my readers to check out using one of the links below – Monza Express just dropped a delightful new single “In the City“, which I’ve selected as my New Song of the Week. The song has a rather serendipitous little back story. The recording session was a runner-up prize in a Facebook competition put out by Aberdeenshire-based Floortom Studios, inviting acts to submit their rough song demos for possible selection by studio producer Steve Curtis. The band submitted a live GoPro rehearsal recording of “In the City”, and were delighted to learn they’d been awarded one of the coveted spots. The song was recorded, mixed and produced by Curtis, and mastered at Metropolis Studios in London.

The sweet song addresses themes of escapism from the standard 9 to 5. Fraser explains:  “I called it ‘In the City’ as both The Jam and The Who have songs [with that title] and I love those bands and what they stood for.” Bateman adds: “The composition came from a bass line Greg had been playing and we went from there. I like the almost early 60s style of the arrangement, especially when Shaun is just playing the main melody. It gives the song a little familiarity.”

The lighthearted song has a bouncy, guitar-driven melody that’s just too damn infectious! It’s the perfect feel-good song for summer, and it’s made me a big fan of Monza Express.

When you’re living in the city
And the bar looks so so pretty
Running shelter from the weather
Beer, pool and ripped up leather
I can take you miles away
Circle JFK for the day
Come and climb the Empire State
We’ll have ourselves some cake
We’ll have ourselves some cake

When you’re living in the city
And the barmaid oh so pretty
Running shelter from the thunder
Fill your glass with endless wonder
I can take you miles away
Eurostar to Paris today
Come and sail the Seine with me
We’ll have a cup of tea
We’ll have a cup of tea…and whiskey

The equally delightful and endearing animated video is a good indication that the guys don’t take themselves too seriously. Says Bateman: “I went on the website Fiverr and commissioned an animator in Pakistan to make us a video. I sent the song, the lyric sheet and photos of the band and left him to it. What resulted was an almost literal translation of the lyrics that we couldn’t not use. We think it’ll get laughs and multiple views.” I love it!

Connect with Monza Express:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music on Spotify / Soundcloud
Purchase on Apple Music

NOVUS CANTUS – Single Review: “In the City”

Novus Cantus

As EclecticMusicLover, I like to feature many different kinds of music on this blog. With that in mind, I’m pleased to review the wonderful new single “In the City” by Novus Cantus, a unique band from Poughkeepsie, New York who look and sound like they could be from Spain or Greece. Novus Cantus, Latin for “new music,” is a collaboration of brothers Alexander (vocals and guitar), and Christian Herasimtschuk (drums and percussion), with assistance by Greg Hayden on bass. Their innovative, melodically beautiful songs draw from an eclectic mix of influences such as traditional ethnic music like flamenco and Hungarian folk, classical Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque, and rock, particularly that of Jethro Tull, but also Metallica and Alice in Chains. They’ve recorded a number of superb tracks over the past few years, and I strongly encourage my readers to check them out on your favorite streaming service, some of which I’ve listed at the end of this review.

“In the City” is a beautiful, optimistic song celebrating the dichotomies and drama of the city, and the diversity and resilience of it’s residents that allows them to flourish despite the odds. I’m guessing the city they sing about is New York, but the lyrics could really apply to any large city anywhere in the world.

In the City, on the sidewalk
An urban scene does play
People motioning toward the crosswalk
By the redwood made by man
Apartment windows reveal the fallacy
Of rich and poor living in harmony
Unaware of their great inequality
Existing in homogeneity

I’ve roamed among the barren forests
Of the streets of urban nothing
And yet, life does seem to flourish in the city
The habitat of humanity.

In the city, on the sidewalk
A lengthy story unfolds
As trees came down, buildings were born
The perfect angles of chiseled stone
The wilderness has long since been gone
But the spirit remains in the form
Of people willing to transform
City life into a vital storm.

I’ve roamed among the barren forests
Of the streets of urban nothing
And yet, life does seem to flourish in the city
The habitat of humanity.

The song opens with sounds of a rushing subway train, then Alexander’s gorgeous and intricate Spanish guitar washes over us, accompanied by Christian’s robust beating of his conga and bongo drums, evoking the fiery passion and drama of the city and the people in it.  In addition to Greg’s bass, the guys employ other instruments like flute and Maracas to add dimension to the track. Alexander’s fervent vocals have an exotic quality that, combined with the instrumentals, gives the song a dynamic, international vibe. It’s brilliant!

Novus Cantus is completely fan-supported, meaning they’re not beholden to a label, so please consider supporting them by following them on social media and purchasing their music. The more fans they have, the more they can compete for gigs in your area. Also consider donating to their music efforts via their Patreon site.

Connect with Novus Cantus:  Website / Facebook / Twitter
Stream their music:  Spotify / Apple Music / Soundcloud
Purchase:  iTunes