It’s been 3 years since Tel Aviv’s indie-soul outfit, Men Of North Country, released their critically acclaimed debut LP, The North, on Acid Jazz Records. In the meantime they have been keeping themselves busy, touring Europe no less than five times, including Germany, France, Italy and the Czech Republic and were greeted with excitement all over Europe’s Mod and Soul scene; that hard work has apparently paid off.
MONC's much anticipated second album, This City, won't disappoint; it still contains the sixties inspired dance floor killers of its predecessor, but the musical palette has broadened, sonically its a much harder edged record, yet the lyrics and vocals convey a spectacular soulfulness; it turns out that the bands 'tricky second album' is a masterpiece.
The band describe their sound as 'space mod lounge music that emerged from the Bauhaus inspired architecture of Tel Aviv and a thousand other influences:most of them unexpected'. Twelve tracks infuse Northern Soul, Post-Punk and Nu-Wave influences into heady visions of the city’s buildings, streets, bedrooms, clubs and bars, while remaining dedicated to their brass section extravaganza and the three-minute pop-nugget charm.
Side one of the vinyl kicks off with Running, a track that Craig Charles has championed, (resulting in a digital single release of the song with two extra tracks not featured on the album).
Track two, (this reviewers favourite track on the album) is a tribute to obscure Stax singer and Wu Tang Clan favourite, Wendy Rene, an epic heart thumping monster of a soul song with a horn arrangement of omnipotent proportion.
Track 3, All In, sounds like a hit record waiting to happen, and track 4, Boy, is the kind of song that raises the small hairs on the back of your neck, puts a lump in your throat, and haunts your every moment with a melody that is near impossible to shake from your head.
If you didn't manage to get a seven inch copy of the bands storming cover version of Lou Pride’s Northern Soul classic, I’m Com’un Home (In the Morn’un), then stop stressing; it kicks off side two.
This City is an exceptional recording by a remarkable, if little known band; believe me when I say... you need this records.