Dave Monks Sings Songs from the Heart

21 Aug

Tokyo Police Club is a well-established indie band based in Ontario, Canada. The four-piece band led by vocalist and bassist, Dave Monks, specializes in rock, alternative rock and some post punk.

Recently, inspired by a new relationship and a move from Toronto to Brooklyn, Monks started writing and playing new material. Without the band to back him up, most of the songs were simple, relatively spare, acoustic numbers. And after a period of time, Monks decided that this is what they were meant to be.

That led to him releasing his first solo EP entitled All Signs Point to Yes, consisting of six, very satisfying, emotionally honest tracks.

The EP kicks off with the bouncy, up-tempo, energetic “Vegas.” It’s full of optimism, hope and appreciation for the relationship in which he finds himself — a 21st century ode to “for better or worse” with the lines, “Maybe we’ll go broke in Vegas/And maybe we’ll become strangers/But something tells me that you’re mine, genuine and certified.” A strumming guitar, lively drum set and eventually handclaps, complement the catchy melody.

Speaking of catchy, the next track, “Gasoline,” is the first single released from All Signs Point to Yes. More of a ballad, the song features Monk as he sings from the heart. The lyrics are delivered in a storytelling style, backed by guitar, piano, drums, and a bit of synth to provide depth.

Another sweet, sincere song is the next track, “The Rules.” It’s further testimony to how these songs came to Monk in the purest form. He sings, “Well, I don’t make the rules/I just play along/And you can’t break the rules/I just sing my song to the beat of the drum/I don’t know where it’s coming from.”

A write-up on the label’s website calls All Signs Point to Yes “a small record with a big heart, a snapshot of a man in a new place and time…” This is the perfect description, not typical record label hype.

The last of the six songs on KZSU’s EP is “Summer Dream,” a fun, strummy sing-along ditty that enables Monks to peer into the future and imagine his possible life: getting married, raising a family, and growing older together with his love.

One note: it appears that a later version of the EP was released with the title track, “All Signs Point to Yes.” We didn’t receive that, so I haven’t heard the song.

But All Songs Point to Yes is a collection that strikes just the right chords: wistful and introspective, without becoming too smarmy or self-important. It’s fun, upbeat and full of great lyrics. Definitely a wonderful fit for the remaining weeks of summertime in the Bay Area, or wherever you happen to be.

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