German solo artist Tobias Kuhn, who goes by Monta, has a firm grasp on modern chamber-pop. On his latest release, The Brilliant Masses, addresses a majority of the themes that a pop record should while encapsulating them in lush, mid-tempo arrangements. Swooning guitars and violins, soft drumming, and sheepish vocals make this album a pit of quicksand: if you expend too much energy, you won’t make it out.
Throughout The Brilliant Masses, Monta displays a sensitivity that’s become the hallmark of the metrosexual. With titles like "There’s A Hole in Your Heart" and "Kiss Goodnight", it’s obvious without even listening that the album has a coffeeshop softness. Where Monta succeeds, however, is in the layers of unassuming instruments around these wispy lyrics. Engaging guitar and melodic piano are scattered around every track.
There are a few pop moments on The Brilliant Masses that are difficult to ignore. "Good Morning Stranger" has a solid hook, as simple as it may be. "See Me Through Your Eyes" has a cool, lightly-distorted riff and rhythm. "Kiss Goodnight" features a repetitive tapping beat while Monta’s background vocals neatly back his piano-driven bounce.
A lot of metrosexual style comes from a soft sense of all-aroundness. Monta’s ability to orchestrate smooth guitars, piano, and mid-tempo beats into a cohesive piece is a testament to his ability. Like a metrosexual, The Brilliant Masses isn’t going to reach out too hard to grab you, but if it gets a hold, its intricacy is hard to let go of.