Review by Rory McCartney
Cellist and folk-pop songwriter Monique Clare has been a member of a band (The Mulberry Collective), a trio (The Maes) and a duo (Rhiannon & Monique). In 2017 she decided to have her first shot at the solo track, releasing the EP By The Stars. The artist dropped the single You Are earlier this year as a teaser for her forthcoming debut LP, and she has followed up with the second single It Works.
Clare’s cello saws away, rising and falling with a sinister vibe, punctuated by single sparkling notes from the harp of Loni Fitzpatrick and harsh drum strikes from Becky Meimaris.
As the song progresses, Clare’s icicle sharp vocals intertwine with Annie Swainston’s violin to dramatic effect. Percussion and strings, including the double bass of Rob Davidson, dance a complicated tango to create a complex web, indicative of the advertising traps which lure the unwary. Clare’s vocals, with their impressive range and soaring tones, are reminiscent of the incredible voice of Kate Miller-Heidke, with whom she played with as part of her backup band, playing the cello and singing backing vocals.
The song theme centres on the constant in-your face advertising that convinces us to buy what we do not really need. The simple repetition of lyrics apes the advertising methods Clare mocks. While her song is primarily focused on the beauty industry, and the glossy magazines that enable it, her message can be read as applying more broadly, as it could encompass even the cunning strategies of product placement that encourage impulse buying in shops. This is a topic that is more relevant than ever, as people fill the lack of entertainment with internet browsing and resort to retail therapy to sooth their jangled nerves.
Bold, clever and vivid, It Works expresses well something we all know to be true, but fall for all too frequently nonetheless.