By Al Kaufman
In his press release, it says that Stevie Monce is “compared to artists like Ryan Adams, Snow Patrol and Kings of Leon.” Good company to be in, no doubt. And I’m sure Monce has a lot in common with them. They are all humans, all musicians, they may even all like a cold beer after a show. But he certainly doesn’t sound like them.
If Monce, a Tennessee native who now calls Atlanta home, sounds like anyone, it’s Matchbox 20. Monce’s vocals are similar to Rob Thomas’ slightly gritty tones. And his songs, also like Thomas’, are filled with the safe sort of angst that will not challenge or scare anyone.
That said, The Broadcast is not a bad CD. Although it is often difficult to differentiate one song from another, Monce is able to write a song that slowly swells until the chorus bursts through the speakers and grabs you. It just gets a little old after a while.The two standouts on the CD are the ones in which Monce breaks away from his tried and true writing formula. “One for the Lovers” is straight out heartland rock and roll, like the kind the BoDeans did in their prime. It’s full of guitars that jangle and words that skip right over them. On “My Time” he pays attention to the entire melody, rather than just relying on the song to build to its majestic chorus. It pays off.
Monce reportedly wrote most of The Broadcast while vacationing in San Andres Island, Columbia. He sat on the beach at night with his guitar and out poured songs based on the three “L”s; life, love and loss. A secluded beach at night can make a man contemplative, and the waves can also apparently make him a bit repetitive.
Monce has potential. It will be interesting to see what he does with it.