Mantler (aka Chris A Cummings) has long felt like a Toronto music scene secret. Critics and musicians love him, but he doesn’t fit neatly into any of the local scenes, and his love for smooth jazz, 70s R&B and classic AM radio pop sets him apart from all the hip indie rock bands trying to make “difficult” music. His genuine appreciation for easy listening is what makes him both cool and uncool, depending on your taste.
The musical zeitgeist has shifted in the six years since his last album, though, and he’s in a much better position now to get proper attention for his peculiar vision. It also helps that he’s getting help here from Owen Pallett, Jeremy Greenspan (Junior Boys), Sandro Perri (Polmo Polpo), Ohbijou and others.
Think of Monody as outsider easy listening: too strange to actually get on the radio, but in a good way.
Top track: In Stride
Mantler plays the Garrison tonight (Thursday, April 15).