“Answers” EP by Monique Angele
“Answers” is the sophomore EP by Canadian born singer-songwriter Monique Angele. The project is a four track follow-up to the 2014 eponymous debut from the Australian based performer whose background in operatic performance is easily discernable in the clean, precise vocals that are the dominating feature of her music. According to her bio, Angele cut her musical teeth on vocal and piano performance ranging from Opera, to musical theatre, to solo performances which led to her branching out from the desire to perform her own music which would be more of a pop-classical style if one had to group it into a genre.
The title track, “Answers” is an ethereal piece that invokes mental images of sweeping camera shots over vast landscapes of rolling hills and seascapes with waves crashing to shore. The melody is simplistic, with minimal orchestration as piano and vocals dominate the song it builds to a minor crescendo before retreating once again to finish with a simple piano theme and vocals. The track would feel right at home in a History Channel documentary or perhaps a Peter Jackson film.
“Mirror” begins similarly to “Answers” with simple piano melodies and vocals, but quickly adds more orchestration and harmonies than the first track. Angele appears to be trying for more of a rock-pop feel to this song, until about half-way through it takes more of an electronica turn and left me confused about what the artist was trying to do musically.
The third track, “You Know”, would feel right at home on Sunday morning church with a gospel choir belting out backing vocals. Whether it be the chord structure Monique chooses, the subtle organ accents, or the themes of higher purposes in the lyrics, everything about the song tries to tap into a rootsy feel, that unfortunately Angele’s clean vocals aren’t quite suited for on this version.
“Complete” may actually be the most complete track on the EP with its frenetic piano accompaniment, well placed orchestration and rhythm, and full harmonies that give the song the best production value of any offering on either of her two albums to date. Once again, the piano and vocals are the show here, but you almost can’t help tapping along with the beat as the song builds.
Overall, while it is obvious that Monique Angele is a talented vocalist and pianist, I felt that “Answers” as a body of work was a retreat from her debut album and that she’s still trying to define where she wants to be stylistically as the album seemed to have an identity crisis at time. Most of the tracks were very safe musically for her, with not a lot of risks taken, nor rewards gained but in all fairness that could be attributed to her having enough innate talent that it just appears that way. It would be disingenuous of me to say I thoroughly enjoyed the album, but I definitely believe that there is enough potential and creativity there to continue her evolution as an artist and I look forward to her next project.
“Answers” by Monique Angele is available for download from Bandcamp.com at the link below: