Monde UFO, “Vandalized Statue To Be Replaced With Shrine”
By Sam Goldner · April 19, 2023 Merch for this release:
Vinyl LP

Anyone who’s spent any time listening to trippy old library music records will get flashbacks listening to L.A.’s Monde UFO. Like Broadcast and Stereolab before them, the duo of DIY stalwarts Ray Monde and Kris Chau pull from the kitschy future-bachelor-pad sounds of artists like Nino Nardini, uncovering the heady properties contained within. On their sophomore album, Vandalized Statue To Be Replaced With Shrine, the band sharpen their approach, lacing their twisty songwriting with lush production and playful, ping-ponging rhythms.

Combining overtones of bossa nova with a thick haze of psychedelia, Monde UFO’s jams warble along with an elevator music–like bliss. When the paranoid shuffle of “Rectory” kicks in with its ghostly vibraphones, it feels like getting lost in an office building of endlessly interlocking hallways. Monde and Chau tap directly into this modern sense of horror in their lyrics as well. On “Government Employee,” they whisper in a drawled tone about “live stream funerals” and professional opportunities that come “for just a little demoralizing fee,” singing their shaggy dog stories as if they were talking through the other end of a payphone whose signal keeps cutting out.

For all its oddities, Vandalized Statue is an album of sumptuous sonic details. The soft nylon string guitar flowing through “The Woods Behind St. Martha” sounds as if it’s wafting down from a nearby balcony, while the woodblocky chimes punctuate “Garden of Agony” with a luminescent, alien glow. In these moments, Monde UFO taps into a beautifully surreal plane halfway between fantasy and reality.

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