Mononegatives Crossing Visual Field LP

This album is great! Speed-fed, first-gen-styled punk that is noisy, fast, and catchy. Imagine an even more caffeinated TOY DOLLS with the amps turned all the way up. Or maybe it sounds like A FRAMES with more tonal variations. Perhaps this is SPITS-worship, but without any schtick. Any way it gets chopped up, Crossing Visual Field is an absolute must-have in my collection.

Mononegatives Facsimile EP

Dowd Records issues a limited release (150 copies pressed to yellow vinyl) of this prolific Canadian synth punk act’s 2021 cassette. The A-side features two tracks of clanging post-punk with a touch of post-hardcore at the edges, particularly in the guitar timbres. Imagine a cross between SERVOTRON and JAY REATARD at his most mechanical. Not bad. But this B-side is fantastic! The title cut sounds like DEVO teaming up with A FRAMES to cover one of the more tuneful tracks on WIRE’s 154 or something by GARY NUMAN—just an excellent mix of herky-jerk guitar interwoven with an assembly line rhythm section and soaring synth melodies. Also, the record as a whole just sounds great—it’s crisp in all the right places, the vocals are crystal clear and well-mixed, and the bottom end still really packs a wallop. Really handsome physical release, as well. All in all, no complaints!

Mononegatives Kill Mono flexi 7”

Here’s a cool one from MONONEGATIVES out of London (not that London, the Canadian one). “Kill Mono” sort of reminds me of John Dwyer from OSEES playing songs by SUICIDE. It has a repetitive nature often found in this style, but with some great hooks thrown in to keep you interested. Lots of style, lots of swagger, I dig it.

Mononegatives New Exit in Shards EP

Canadian synth punk with a heavy dose of MAGAZINE and COLIN NEWMAN. What starts off with a vivacious feel in the first steps of the EP soon becomes pretty disjointed and overexerted. The EP contains three minimal, bass-driven tracks with some synth-y backing. The B-side kinda reminds me of CHROME. Maybe I just need more time on this…I do remember stumbling upon Apparatus Division (their 2021 LP) and having a more positive reaction to the band.  

Mononegatives / Mystery Girl split EP

I gotta say, I’d seen this record in distros and always assumed based on the cover that it was some synthy Factory Records-worship by a lone band—MONONEGATIVES. Turns out this record does feature a synth…that’s maybe wielded in a less new wave-y manner than I was imagining, but also there’s a whole other band on here! MYSTERY GIRL is not the name of the record. Instead, they’re a punky power pop band out of Albany, NY, who kick things off with a couple tracks. “Loveline” starts as a somewhat ripping garage pop track that crashes into an odd cooing power pop chorus with really off-kilter harmonies. It caught me way off guard at first, but I came to appreciate its strangeness by the track’s end. For their other song, they slow down the BOYS’ “Tumble With Me” and turn it into some NEW YORK DOLLS-esque swagger rock. It’s a cool cover! London, Ontario’s MONONEGATIVES close things out with three tracks of synth-drenched, garage-y post-punk. A track like “Time Warp” even justifies my inkling about what this record would sound like—the bass line could have been plucked from an early NEW ORDER track. But overall these guys’ vibe is way heavier, and they come off sounding like a less gimmicky and more overtly post-punk SERVOTRON…or maybe a weedier A FRAMES. Either way, I’m into it!

Mononegatives Apparatus Division LP

Smashing debut LP by this London, Ontario group. Twelve songs in just under a half hour—I like those numbers, those numbers bode well. And these are actual songs—Apparatus Division is modern punk done right. MONONEGATIVES posit a pretty straightforward equation: take ADVERTS-by-way-of-JAY REATARD, add a hint of CHROME, cut with some jacked-up A FRAMES, and you’re about halfway there. “Living in the Age” into “Neighbots” is as good a back-to-back as I’ve heard this year. “Trauma” is like hardcore punk TUBEWAY ARMY, but don’t assume it’s all android energy bouncing around, as MONONEGATIVES has got real rock’n’roll swagger behind the motherboard. After establishing a mid-tempo groove, “Circuits in View” erupts into a suitably swinging rave-up that hits like the speediest parts of ’77. “Career Attitude” is all pent-up energy but finds the space for a couple killer hooks, while “Today’s Adult” cracks a dozen egg-punk shells in the time it takes to lace up your boots. Apparatus Division has got a perfect balance between rock grit and synthetic pulse.

Mononegatives Sure Shock EP

This 7″ is really reminiscent of the new wave of LA hardcore bands like MEATBODIES or WAND. Heavy, pummeling riffs draped in a synthed-out wall of noise that just don’t let up at any point for any reason. The band doesn’t pull any punches here, just fast and loud punk. Simple as that. Perfect for headbanging your worries away or pissing off your neighbors.