Liverpool-based indie trio Monitors is centered around the friendship of three men from completely different cultures — a Brit, a Frenchman and a Bosnian. With the release of 2019’s Notes from the Aftermath EP, the trio established an overall aesthetic that pairs lyrics inspired by the works of William S. Burroughs, J.G. Ballard and Edgar Allan Poe with a sound that meshes elements of punk, pop and electronica.
Released earlier this month, the Liverpool trio’s sophomore EP The War Office derives its title from a room in Liverpool- based pub Ye Cracke, known as The War Office. Famously, The War Office was where pubgoers had heated discussions about The Second Boer War and British Colonialism. In the 50s, John Lennon and painter Stu Sutcliffe were regulars. Perhaps inspired by The War Office, the EP continues and expands upon the themes that 2019’s Notes from the Aftermath — in particular isolation, addiction, political corruption and ecology. But the EP finds the act addressing those thematic concerns with a much more confrontational and direct approach than its predecessor, paired with a richer melodic sensibility.
The EP’s first single “The Drill” is a propulsive, dance punk banger centered around fuzzy yet funky bass lines, four-on-the-floor, punchily delivered lyrics and enormous hook. Sonically, the song reminds me of Echoes-era The Rapture and LCD Soundsystem. But the song’s inspiration and thematic concerns come from a far darker place — August Natterer’s descent into madness. “He had a hallucination of 10,000 images in 30 minutes,” the band’s Chris explains, ““to the point where after committal he believed he was the illegitimate child of Napoleon and a ‘redeemer of the world’. This song deals with the instability of the mind and its power over the body to inspire, enlighten but potentially to also destroy.”
The recently released video for the song finds the trio in a mental health ward, treating each other — while hallucinating and in the throes of complete madness. Who’s the patient? Who’s the doctor? Are they all insane? That I’ll leave to you. But it’s an appropriately trippy and mind-bending take.