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Album #312: Molchat Doma – Monument

  • Released: 2020
  • Origin: Minsk, Belarus
  • Label: Sacred Bones
  • Best Track: Udolil Tvoy Nomer

When I started this blog, I didn’t expect to cover not one, but two bands from the basket case of a nation that is Belarus over the course of the year. But while I sought out Messed Up due to becoming increasingly fascinated by the former Soviet state’s ugly politics, their countrymen Molchat Doma have made something of a hard-to-ignore splash around the world.

For a start, the post-punk/synth band’s music has been widely heard on the infernal social media app TikTok, and the band have spawned a Facebook group based around sharing pictures of the sort of pallid brutalist buildings that appear on their album covers. Bravely, the band have also spoken out about their country’s politics on social media too, fronted by dictator Alexander Lukashenko.

In contrast with the band’s thoroughly modern rise to attention is their music, which sounds very much of a different era. You’d be forgiven for thinking this was some obscure ’80s band only now being heard outside of Eastern Europe. And I mean that in a good way!

Highlights on the band’s third album Monument include the appropriately danceable ‘Discoteque’, while ‘Zvezdy’ seems somehow best fitting of the ‘coldwave’ tag they get. ‘Udolil Tvoy Nomer’ is perhaps the pick of the album with its particularly memorable hook.

I’ve just noticed that the above video, which is merely of an album track, was only uploaded today and already has more than 800 views and 10 comments. You wonder if this obscure band could make next week’s official charts in the US and UK at this rate.

The record is more synth-based that it is guitar, and, perhaps compounded by me not understanding the words, feels like a truly gloomy glimpse into a troubled part of the world. A comfortingly bleak listen, and I love the band’s aesthetics.

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