It took me a week before I was able to pick up Ilya Monosov’s Seven Lucky Plays, or How to Fix Songs for a Broken Heart, off the shelf in my room. Every time I’d pass it I was met with Monosov’s disparate longing gaze. With his pursed lips splitting open like some distant horizon peeling apart at the seam and his face reflecting the type of sweat that only sorrow can spill, I had the feeling that it would be an album not easily escaped. “I open my arms, just listen…” Monosov begins the album. A hushed vocal interlude softly lures the listener into Seven Lucky Plays. The next song, “Tricycles”, quickly segues into a Nicoesque string section that is followed by “My Dears” lascivious wandering waltz. Monosov is at his strongest on the Parisian tinged “Winter Lullaby,” “I’ll eat you for the poison and I’ll wrap myself within you,” rasps Ilya, his vocals recalling later Leonard Cohen. The song plays out on the soundscape of the album like a scene in a Truffaut film, Monosov tracing his wandering steps through some dark, cold mossy cobblestone back alley flea market, contemplating the darkness and depths that love will drive you too. It’s shortly after the song that you realize that Monosov has accomplished exactly what he set out to do. Between the dissonant vocals and acoustic guitar with melodies surfacing only to be drowned out by electric guitar, Monosov draws the listener into his world of uncertainty and squalor quashed with heartache. It’s only upon hearing the closing song, “I’ll live my life without pain” that the listener can decide if it’s Seven Lucky Plays or How to Fix Songs for a Broken Heart.
listen Ilya Monosov – Winter Lullaby [mp3]
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