Photos by Brandon Macz: The Monophonics played The Crocodile in Seattle for two nights in February.
Photos by Brandon Macz: The Monophonics played The Crocodile in Seattle for two nights in February.
Watching San Francisco-based psychedelic soul band Monophonics play up The Crododile stage with one more song during their stop in Seattle last month, a man who’d showed up late turned to me and said, “These guys are the opening act? They’re amazing.”
Indeed, the hour set they played truly wasn’t long enough, but it definitely convinced a score in the crowd to make sure to get their tickets when the band comes back as a headliner.
The Monophonics are making the rounds, promoting their new EP “Mirrors,” a somewhat more laid back set of covers of songs from the ‘60s and ‘70s than some of their past albums. 
With “Summer Breeze,” by Seals and Crofts, the Monophonics have turned the song into a completely instrumental track with an emphasis on twangy psychedelic guitar riffs, and lead vocalist and pianist Kelly Finnigan sitting back and tickling the keys.
Tiffany Austin lends her sultry vocals to the Monophonics’ twist on The Invincibles’ “My Heart Cries,” the guitars and horns seemingly tucked behind her voice. If you’re freshly heartbroken, it’s definitely a song you can play whilst staring out your rainy window into a black night. Good luck sitting still, though.
Monophonics pick up the tempo and let Finnigan’s larger-than-life voice shine with Frank Valli’s “Beggin.” 
He’s the son of Michael Kelly Finnigan, a keyboardist and vocalist who’s worked with the likes of Joe Cocker, Jimi Hendrix, Etta James and Tracy Chapman, and there’s no denying the obvious inherited talent.
Probably my favorite track on “Mirrors” is the Monophonics’ cover of Black Merda’s “Lying,” where Finnigan  provides a crisp bluesy baritone that
does the trick of conveying the story of a man who feels he’s been done wrong.
Adrian De Leon provides co-lead vocals for the cover of Nu People’s “I’d Be Nowhere Today,” with Helen Duncan and Kimiko Joy providing backing vocals. While the vocals mingle wonderfully on this track, what really pops on this track is the horn section. 
“Mirrors” ends with a thoughtful, soulful instrumental take on The Mamas & The Papas’ “California Dreamin’,”  a deeper jam with a nod to Greek fans with the twangy addition of a bouzouki guitar that makes confused as to whether you’d rather be driving down Highway 1 or sailing the Mediterranean. 
As far as EPs go, “Mirrors” is a delightful appetizer while Monophonics fans await the next full album. If anyone gets through it and longs for more, their 2015 Sound of Sinning album also delivers.