In the latest offering from Australian ‘post-noir punk’ aficionado Low Monroe, Blood And Leather Gloves unfurls with a flair that could make even a hardboiled detective raise an eyebrow. Here, the chiaroscuro of life is as real as the red on the pavement after a particularly spirited game of hopscotch. Low Monroe, the brooding brainchild of Mark Sergi, crafts a debut EP detailing a series of crime capers, each spun with the finesse of a seasoned sleuth.
These five tracks – let’s call them ‘chapters’ for the sake of mystery – weave tales as intricately as a pair of well-worn leather gloves gripping a brake lever that’s seen better days. In this musical escapade, Monroe lurks, ponders, and tiptoes around the scene of the crime, leaving listeners to wonder, “Whodunit?” and perhaps, more importantly, “What’s next?”
Stepping into the murky world of Club Monroe, we’re ushered into a seedy night club; a cathedral-like edifice nestled in the pulsing heart of Melbourne, where the admission fee is paid in blood and misery. This shadowy fable unfolds around a tormented mother, captivated, lost in the labyrinthine depths of this enigmatic club off Russell Street. Here, angels masquerade as bouncers: gatekeepers of a surreal realm. The air is thick with the whispers of rejection, a hushed undercurrent that seeps through the track, intertwined with a tribal, post-punk rhythm that echoes like a heartbeat in this dimly lit world of intrigue and dark allure.
In the haunting echoes of Two-Day Crime Scene, we descend into the final 48 hours of our protagonist’s existence, cloaked in pure, black velvet noir. Inspired by Wim Wenders’ 1984 masterpiece, Paris, Texas, we learn the fate of a motel-hopping romantic, ensnared in the throes of a devastating heartbreak. We wander along, lost in the vastness of concrete deserts, along the stark, plastered walls. This is a desperate search for closure in a world that spirals into the surreal; resonating in the silence of empty rooms, a story told not just in words, but in the spaces between them.
Second Try Theme unfurls like a haunting melody from a dream, a spooky banger reminiscent of the opening credits of an unseen, enigmatic show. In this piece, Monroe channels the shadowy depths of various film noir characters and the kinetic energy of 70s Quinn Martin productions. It’s a track shrouded in darkness, pulsating with swagger and suspense, a narrative dance with Schadenfreude shadowing ‘the bad guy.’
Drawing lyrical inspiration from the piercing gaze of Rear Window (1954) and the gritty allure of Sweet Smell of Success (1957), the track is a homage to the thrill of cinematic composers like Lalo Schifrin, Stu Phillips, Mike Post, and Billy Goldenberg. We’re swept into the frantic world of a character on the run, a bullseye etched upon his back. Through a deep, sporadic vocal performance, the song captures the cold, panicked whisper of an alter ego, a haunting presence that lingers.
“Velvet Cell was a huge process, in fact I had attempted my first music video,” he says of the next track. “A gruelling set of days, coordinated by Cal Foster and Charlton Schneider, shooting in the iconic Old Melbourne Gaol. It was all a very chilling experience, running around the corners of where criminals were held captive, tortured, and executed felt cold. One thing that stood out to me was the carvings and text that were written all over the cell doors, I even spotted the name ‘Regan’ edged on a wall with the year ‘1954’ next to it which gave me chills. I instantly thought of The Exorcist and couldn’t shake that out of my head. With very special help from set designer Kasia Silva, a Velvet Cell was actually built inside jail cell 15, mirroring the red room from Twin Peaks. Ultimately I didn’t give the green light for the product to be released but it’ll always remain heavy in my mind.”
In the final act, we encounter The Perfect Citizen, a track that shatters the fourth wall, delving into the psyche of a duplicitous chameleon in a merciless, dog-eat-dog world. This landscape is rife with ostracism, veiled acts of dictatorship, and the fiery imagery of bullet dresses. Echoing the dark resonance of gothic icons like Sisters Of Mercy and Bauhaus, the piece immerses us in an atmosphere thick with foreboding and introspection. This track sets the stage for what lies ahead, hinting at a future rich with layered narratives and haunting melodies told in the shadowy realm of Monroe’s unique universe.
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