Review: The Monotrol Kid – What About the Finches (Songs & Whispers, 2011)
The Monotrol Kid (born Erik van den Broeck) is a Belgian folksinger who’s gigged around Europe and released a single (“Almost”), EP (Today was a Good Day), and now this 10-track album. Recorded entirely on his own in a home studio near Brussels, his sound favors that of Elliott Smith and early R.E.M, with dashes of Cat Stevens, Don McLean, Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan; his double-tracked duets suggest Simon & Garfunkel, Blind Pilot and the Delevantes. The album hits its deepest moment halfway through with the simmering advisory “Try” and the crawling solicitation “The Horse Ride Home.” Broeck’s duet singing is seductive, in part because it doesn’t always sound like one voice doubled, and in part because it does. Singing with and to yourself adds unusual semantics to lyrics nominally directed outward at others, and gives these performances unique finishes.