"“I wanna move in the business world/The way I move when I’m with my girl.”
That’s the simple yet elusive goal stated by former Lucksmiths bassist Mark Monnone in ‘The Business World’, his latest single as Monnone Alone. With a charming purity worthy of Jonathan Richman, he laments outstanding loans and looming rent while piloting a boat (for some reason) in the film clip. The song’s got everything: catchy chorus, surprise falsetto and even a pseudo-rap stretch.
The clip was directed by Isobel Knowles (ex-Architecture in Helsinki) and filmed by Stu Mannion. The song comes from the debut Monnone Alone album Together at Last, out May 24 through Monnone’s Lost & Lonesome imprint. Recorded by The Ladybug Transistor’s Gary Olson at his longstanding Brooklyn studio Marlborough Farms, it features Connal Parsley (Your Wedding Night, Francis Plagne) on bass and Gus Franklin (Architecture in Helsinki) on drums.
‘The Business World’ is the album’s oldest track, tracing “its hobo steps back to a Portland kitchen in the mid-noughties, with friend Andrew ‘Hotdog’ Kaffer (of the sadly missed Kissing Book) freestyling a verse about living on food stamps over a two-chord riff plucked out by Monnone on a broken-down nylon-string.”
Monnone co-founded The Lucksmiths in 1993, and his songwriting for the band included fan favourites ‘Take This Lying Down’ and ‘T-Shirt Weather’. Besides Parsley and Franklin, Together at Last boasts “extra flavour” from members of Crystal Stilts, The Aislers Set, The Ruby Suns and The Clean. It also packs the 2011 single ‘Pink Earrings’ and the live staple ‘My Overdue Library Fines’." 'The Business World' Video Premiere, Mess+Noise
"There’s nothing I like more than a band that sounds like they’re from Melbourne. Sometimes it subtle, a Mikey Young production credit, a jangly guitar riff, the odd reference to Brunswick, and other times it’s impossible not to notice the bands home city. The Lucksmiths were one of those bands. While they disbanded quite some time ago, their songs still paint an accurate picture of being a 20-something in this city to a soundtrack of jangly indie pop.
Matt Monnone has just released his debut album since The Lucksmiths disbanded (he was the bass player) and it is a glorious slice of indie pop with a smattering of hometown references that will warm the hearts of anyone this side of the Murray.
Opener ‘The Westerly Whip’ is catchy jangly pop that sounds like The Lucksmiths on steroids. ‘My Overdue Library Fines’ has a 1960′s girl group guitar line that is extremely effective and not tapping your foot along is a challenge. Seriously, try it.’Echoing Days’ has a hint of the Go-Betweens about it, which is the best kind of Australiana. The piano on ‘Tangerine and the Bear’ is just perfect and it’s one of the album’s best tracks, as is the up-tempo duet ‘Richochet.’
Monnone’s vocals follow the tradition of Melbourne vocalist with unpolished voices. While it’s not going to set the mainstream on fire, it’s a very relatable sound and the lyrics are top notch." Mismatch.TV
" Mark Monnone is alone but not lonely on his debut as a solo artist, Together At Last
. This is because Gus Franklin (Architecture in Helsinki, The Smallgoods) is on hand to apply his multi-instrumentalist skills and produce the album alongside The Ladybug Transistor’s Gary Olson, while backing vocals come courtesy of pals such as Ryan McPhun (Ruby Suns) and Kyle Forrester (Crystal Stilts).
The first few tracks recall, understandably, Monnone’s former band The Lucksmiths, and tell tales of being unable to commit (or return library books) while being wooed by pink earrings. Like the music of his former band, the stories are set on a fluffy cloud of blossoming love, but with a lingering melancholy and laced with self-effacing humour.
As the album develops, it forms its own personality, offers more variety and doesn’t stop having fun. It’s hard not to smile through the balmy Tangerine and the Bear
and the Conchords-style humour of The Business World
, while melodic highs are hit on breezy sunbursts of songs like Echoing Days
and Sunset Video Project
. The high standard is kept up at the end of the album, with a wistful duet with The Harpoons’ Bec Rigby and a lovely little closing ballad that finally breaks free of the three-minute pop-song mould. Who needs T-shirt weather with an album this packed with summery pop gems?
" Chris Girdler, Beat Magazine
"Let’s be out with it: Mark Monnone isn’t the world’s greatest singer. He proved that he could pen a tune and pluck a bass during his long spell in long lost indie folk favourites The Lucksmiths, but his vocal range was never something you’d write home about. What his debut solo(ish) record Together at Last proves, however, is that a lovely set of pipes can be easily trumped by strength of personality and a cracking set of songs.
Monnone Alone travels in the path laid out by so-called c86 acts such as The Pastels – minimal pop, a shade on the twee side, where the lyric and melody are king. The sound is soft and jangly, and this record wraps itself around your ears. It’s an autumnal number. There are not a lot of jagged edges, but there is a lot of depth. And there’s a lot of Mr Monnone on it too.
Whether or not this is the sound of the ‘real’ Monnone is unimportant – what’s so pervasive about this LP is the idea of the person creating it. It feels like a record which really wants to communicate with the listener, and the skill with which it does so is interesting. Monnone makes it sounds so easy. It’s not, of course – finding a voice and projecting it is one of the hardest things an artist can do. Monnone, put simply, is bloody good at this.
Business World, My Overdue Library Fines and Pink Earrings are wry, sweet and rollicking standouts on an album which lacks filler. And Ricochet is a major highlight. But the whole thing works. It’s played by a bunch of people, but it sounds very much like the vision of its core creator, who is someone you’re happy to hang out with. A fine album." Glen Martin, BMA, Canberra
"The Lucksmiths were considered by many to represent the ‘sound’ of the Melbourne music scene for over a decade. Their clever turn of phrase, spritely melodies and down to earth approach made them the kings of the cardigan for many both in Australia and abroad. Since they pulled stumps it is bass player Mark Mononne who has been in the most demand.
When he is not being a gun for hire in Still Flyin’ or Darren Hanlon’s band (amongst others), he treads the boards as Monnone Alone. Together At Last is a chance to hear the results of his time in the studio.
When pressing play on opener, The Westerly Whip, you could be forgiven for thinking that you had stumbled across an old undiscovered Lucksmiths recording. The drums are flamboyant, the guitars jangly and Monnone’s vocals are distinctly Australian yet tuneful. There are plenty of fine moments, including where My Overdue Library Fines has Monnone playing up to his bookish charm.
Monnone Alone go some way towards filling the immeasurable void left by the demise of the Lucksmiths. Together At Last is a light-hearted and likeable collection of tunes that sees Monnone as highly credentialed with guitar and voice as he is has proven to be with four strings." Chris Havercroft, X-Press Magazine, Perth
"9 months after its release I only just now got round to listen to Mark Monnone’s debut album, on Spotify. And it’s a treat. To be honest, I didn’t expect it to be this good from the preview tracks I’d heard. And, most likely, being an avid Lucksmiths
fan I guess I was distracted by the ever tormenting question if anyone who is not Tali could sing
The album opener set things straight from the outset. Not only is Mark’s voice (and his accent!) a welcome surprise; it’s warm and inviting, as in a friend you hadn’t heard from in a long time invites you over for some catching up (look, I made a pun). And who wouldn’t want to be friends with Mark?!
These songs, it must be said, were recorded to perfection at Gary Olson
’s Marlborough Farms studio in Brooklyn
(stupidly enough until now, I thought it was a farm!).
But what’s amazing, much like what his former band was known for, is Monnone’s gift for crafting catchy jangly melodies drawing on everyday themes, and thus offering us an inkling of life in Melbourne (and remind us why we love Australia so much, see the title of our blog). These songs made us nod along, sing along and dance along. Instant favourite: Ricochet
, the duet with Bec Rigby
(of the Harpoons).
While it’s clear that The Lucksmiths’ collective output was way above the sum of their parts it’s also clear that Monnone is much more than the former 1/3 of the Lucksmiths.
" Xanthi, Songs for Girls to Sing
"As bassist and co-songwriter for the Lucksmiths, Mark Monnone was responsible for helping to create some of the most thoughtful and tender indie pop around. After the band's split in 2009, he spent time playing with Still Flyin' and working on solo material under the name Monnone Alone. Unsurprisingly, the first Monnone Alone album features an unstinting supply of tenderly crafted, sweetly sung indie pop that's both witty and warm. Touching on topics as unspectacular and real as unpaid library fines, watching videos, and love, the bouncy rhythms are infectious, the harmony vocals are uniformly sweet, and Monnone's everyman vocals fit perfectly with the understated backing, which is provided by his own guitar work and a core duo of drummer Gus Franklin and bassist Connal Parsley. Further belying the name of the project, Monnone is also helped out by a bunch of friends and colleagues, including Aislers Set's Amy Linton and the Ladybug Transistor's Gary Olson. It's a welcome return for one of the good guys of indie pop and will fit in happily on the shelf next to the discerning fan's Lucksmiths collection." iTunes