Electropop Single Review: "Following the River" by Monkey Mynd
Monkey Mynd’s latest single, "Following the River," has a deep and moving quality about it. Between the mixture of acoustic and electronic musical elements, Jamie Wiltshire’s impassioned voice singing Monkey Mynd’s lyrics, the lovely tones of Jonathan Gerstner’s cello and the steady pulse of Danyal Ince on drums, this single makes a strong emotional impression.
The track opens with gentle guitar drifting over soft electronic sounds and then the rich tones of the cello come in, singing out behind the impassioned voice of Jamie Wiltshire. The sound of the solo cello work by Jonathan Gerstner is darkly beautiful. It connects the emotions of the lyrics with the emotion in the music.
I also have to mention the mixing done by Oliver Lee and the mastering by Marc Felish on this single. Both of them did an excellent job of creating a well-balanced, sharp and clean sounding production that added to the whole package.
Not only was the vocal performance powerful but the images and feelings in the lyrics matched up to the level of intensity of that performance. This is a song shot through with loss, hope and pain. The idea of life as a process “following the river, nothing really clever, staying in the lines” contrasts with a sense of aimlessness in the words, “Life, helpless like a writer, lost between the lines.”
The feeling of loss is palpable in the line, “I struggle to know how I feel, as I traded my heart for a dream” and I was strongly struck by the image of standing “like a titan of steel” in a “cold little house on a hill.”
There’s a sense of pleading in the chorus that says, “I just wanna live, I just wanna break it all/Driving like a rocket, crash into a wall” that contrasts with the ache in the words, “Kiss me like I’m someone/Squeeze me to the bone.” There are two musings on how time affects us all in the song but the most poignant line for me is “time like a cold rain in spring/Every drop is a trench on my skin.”
Following The River is a powerful expression of hope and loss delivered by Monkey Mynd, Jamie Wiltshire and the other musicians on this album. The musical backing is as full of emotional intensity as Jamie Wiltshire’s voice and Monkey Mynd’s production ties it all together well. If this is the level of power that his music will continue to offer, he could be headed for some very interesting future work.